NSKuwait made history in 1982. The team from the Arab Gulf state qualified for the World Cup finals in Spain. An experience that did not go beyond the group stage (they drew (1-1) with Czechoslovakia and lost against France (4-1) and England (1-0), but they did not raise the level of the Kuwaiti team. Impossible outside Qatar 2022, the “blue wave” aspires to be The World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico in 2026. A goal in which the Spaniard Carlos Gonzalez plays a key role.
The former Real Madrid athlete arrived in Kuwait in the fall of 2020 with another group of 13 Spaniards as part of an ambitious plan by the federation to regain lost ground. “The goal was to qualify for the Uzbekistan U-23 Asian Cup in 2022 and we achieved that for the first time by beating Bangladesh (1-0) and Saudi Arabia (2-1). It is an unmistakable force. It has only been achieved once before (2013). We are lagging behind other Gulf countries and with good results we can have time to develop our idea. We have arrived with the goal of working from the base, decades long, but the base of the signs,” notes Marca Gonzalez. At the age of thirty-five, he is immersing himself in a country where football is considered the king of the sport, although it is growing little by little.
The goal was to qualify for the 2022 U-23 Asian Cup and we achieved that for the first time by beating Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia, which is a real force.
“Besides Saudi Arabia, it is the country with the largest number of fans in the Gulf. They have a long history. They participated in the 1982 World Cup, but now they play all the local football players. The foreigners, they are five per team., was. The Kuwaitis started They devote themselves exclusively to football. When it comes to work, from May to November it is very hot and you have to do it in the evening and at night. And on a cultural level you have to respect the prayer times. But when you devote yourself to football, life is almost the same in all countries” Gonzalez points out. since you arrived, He captained the U-23 team, Kuwait (one of the greats in the country) and the first team after being promoted in the FIFA window in October. Three in one.
“They have great confidence in the U-23 generation in the federation. Now, to the max, we will bring in 16-17 U-23 players to give continuity and competitive experience to the footballers who are going to leave. Good level and the goal is to choose to reach the next AFC Asian Cup in China 2023. The long-term goal should be to try to qualify for the World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico in 2026. Qatar 2022 did not arrive because they fell with us in the middle of qualification and the epidemic. We didn’t start from scratch and it was complicated.”
Gonzalez led Kuwait with his assistant David Gallen in friendlies against the Czech Republic and Lithuania in Europe in November. “In the previous ‘first appearance’ window against Bosnia and we lost 1-0 to a team that came to draw with France, Griezmann, Mbappe… This gave us a temporary memory and others were interested in playing with us”, highlights the coach who manages a team ranked 142 in the FIFA rankings.
Al-Mutawa is ahead of Cristiano
Bader Al-Mutawa, the star of Kuwait. The midfielder, aged 36, is considered the most active football player for his country (186), and the second in history after Malaysian Soh Chin An (219). Cristiano Ronaldo, who is fourth with a score of 182, is closely following him. “He is a prestigious position in Kuwait, and when I got to the absolute, the press compared us because we are practically the same age. He is very respectful, cares a lot about himself and has a special mentality. He is a ’10’ with high quality. And the reference for all. Young people. We call him because he contributes a lot,” he points out. Gonzalez:”It can be up to 200 games. It depends on the friendly matches and the tournaments we play. He’s consistent and that he’s ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo in matches says a lot about him“.