Soccer: Adshead confident Qatar will deliver

Former All White soccer coach John Adshead believes the tiny state of Qatar will put on "an absolutely superb World Cup" in 2022.

Adshead knows the Gulf region well from his time as Oman's national youth coach in the early 2000s, and he gave the thumbs-up to today's naming of Qatar as host.

He said no-one on the outside was privy to the reasons behind world body Fifa's decision.

"But if you want to develop the game, then I think Qatar is a fantastic choice, and they will put on an absolutely superb World Cup," he said.

"I know it will disappoint Australia and other countries that applied, but it's a coup for Asia and for the Gulf states."

While Qatar had a population of just 1.4 million, it had the wealth to deliver the infrastructure needed and its position was also an advantage.

"Dubai, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia are all close by and it's seven hours from London and seven hours from Singapore," Adshead said.

"It's a pretty central place."

However, Adshead did point to two negative aspects of having the tournament in Qatar.

One was the issue of regional security, and the other was the weather, with summer temperatures in the country sometimes topping 50 degrees Celsius.

"Playing in June and July in Qatar, acclimatisation is going to be vital," he said.

"Even if you kick off at 10pm you are going to be playing in temperatures of 30 plus. It's something players have to get used to, because the Middle East at that time of the year can be particularly uncomfortable."

Adshead is best known for guiding New Zealand to their first World Cup finals appearance in Spain in 1982.

After coaching in Oman, he returned to New Zealand in 2005 to manage the now defunct Auckland-based A-League side the Knights.

Meanwhile, current New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert gave guarded support to Fifa, who also awarded the 2018 tournament to Russia.

Both decisions drew predictable criticism from the unsuccessful bidders along with some commentators.

"I think it's always difficult and there's always going to be conjecture around what's good and what's not good. It comes down to the detail that obviously Fifa has to work through with a fine-tooth comb to come up with what they think is best," Herbert said.

"From a personal point of view it would've been great to have a World Cup on our own doorstep and I'm certain (2022 bidders) Australia would have done a great job. The FFA will be disappointed, we have seen the effort and energy that's been put in by some very, very good people. But we can only wish Russia and Qatar all the very best and we hope they (the All Whites) are there as well."

- NZPA

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