Doha, Qatar: FC Spartak Moscow coach Oleg Kononov, Sergey Semak of Zenit St Petersburg, Yuriy Semin of Lokomotiv Moscow and Rostov FC’s Valeriy Karpin were full of positive thoughts about the Match Premier Cup — the new tournament involving the four top Russian sides that started at Aspire Academy on Monday.
The four coaches told the media that they believed the new tournament in Qatar was a very positive development. They were thoroughly impressed with the facilities at Aspire and were enthusiastic about the welcome that they received in Qatar.
"Aspire Academy is phenomenal and boasts some of the best sports facilities of any l have seen in the world," remarked Semin. "It’s obvious why this is the training base for the Qatar national team. Aspire Academy has exactly what any team requires for training camps and to prepare."
Valeriy Karpin added: "The facilities at Aspire Academy are excellent. We don't have anything like this in Russia".
"The Match Premier Cup" which is being organised by Match TV and the Russian Premier League in partnership with Qatar Football Association and Aspire Zone Foundation will run from 21- 29 January. The tournament will be broadcast live in Russia on Match TV and Match Premier.
The coaches were very enthusiastic about competing in this novel tournament in Doha which takes place during the Russian League’s winter break. Russian teams normally travel abroad to warmer climates for training camps and ahead of league matches resuming in March.
They also expressed that in coming to Qatar, they have found an ideal new destination, and also an opportunity to introduce Russian football to this country while introducing Qatar to huge numbers of fans back home who will be following their teams’ progress.