Kim Källström: Lack of travel will help boost player performance in 2022
Former Sweden star Kim Källström has praised Qatar 2022's compact tournament plans – along with the country's futuristic stadium designs – during a visit to the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC).
Källström, who won 131 caps for Sweden and represented his country at the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, was visiting Qatar for the first time just a year after hanging up his boots.
The former Lyon, Rennes and Spartak Moscow player told www.sc.qa the compact nature of Qatar 2022 would be a major boost for players and fans. The longest distance between stadiums will be just 55km in 2022, with fans having the chance to attend more than one match a day during the early stages of the tournament.
"Probably the only thing footballers complain about is the constant travelling," said Källström, who now works as a TV pundit.
"You change hotel a lot, especially during tournaments, and it affects your recovery. The plans here are amazing – and have never been seen before. They will probably help the level of football as players won't be exhausted."
Källström continued: "It's going to be great for the players – and also the fans. They will have opportunities to see two games a day. It's going to be easy for them – one hotel, one flight ticket, and they don't have to worry about following their team around."
Källström, who appeared for Sweden at three European Championship finals, also praised Qatar's stadiums – many of which are modular and will have some of their seats donated to developing countries after 2022.
"The stadiums are amazing – I really like the designs, which reflect Qatari life," said Källström. "They look beautiful and they are also built in a smart way for the legacy plans."
The first FIFA World Cup™ in the Arab world will be positive for both Qatar and the region, according to Källström.
"It's important to take the World Cup to new countries. Qatar has its issues but is making improvements. Progress is being made and having the World Cup in your country can help you to evolve and develop. I'm truly impressed with the developments here, and also the hospitality."
Källström is hoping Sweden can qualify for Qatar 2022 after an impressive showing in Russia last summer. The Swedes made it all the way to the quarter-finals – where they were beaten by England – after coming through a group containing Germany, the defending champions, Mexico and Korea Republic.
"I think what Sweden did in Russia was amazing," he added. "They came out of a tough group. The players were on top of their games and the coach did a great job.
"They have potential to do well in the World Cup – but first you have to qualify, which is quite hard. Swedish football is having a very positive time though and we are looking forward to following their progress."
Källström said his message to Swedish fans is simple: come and see Qatar for yourself.
"I think in Sweden we have an image of Qatar which has been brought to us from the media – but it's important to visit a country for yourself and get your own opinion," he said.
"Obviously, Qatar has improvements to make but they are working very hard to do this. People may be sceptics but I've had a really pleasant time here and it's been an eye-opener – sometimes you shouldn't believe everything you read in the media."
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