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Friday, October 22, 2021

Qatar to use AI to transform its footballers into world champions

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Teams and managers can use the technology to prepare strategy and improve player performance

Qatar’s national football team can now benefit from yet another way to improve its performance. An artificial intelligence-driven technology from Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s College of Science and Engineering can use raw player data to predict future team and player performance with more than 80% accuracy. 

The tech has analysed player performances in a total of 864 matches played in the Qatar Stars League, the country’s top flight, between 2012 and 2019. For each match, the performances of players in key positions (defense, midfield, forward) were analysed to understand their contributions to their team’s victory or defeat.

The main component of the technology is a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) known as machine learning, where technology is given a large amount of data to analyse, learn from and make predictions for the future. 

Read also: AFC Asian Cup 2027: Another jewel in Qatar’s sporting crown?

The technology was created by HBKU PhD student Jassim Mohamed AlMulla along with his supervisor Dr Tanvir Alam, an assistant professor in CSE’s Information and Computing Technology Division. 

With its high accuracy levels, football teams and managers can use the technology to understand their players and devise key strategies for winning games. 

“Such data-driven AI-based research will allow us to learn from the past and to create a better plan for the future, aligning Qatar as a global pioneer in innovation and football technology,” said Ahmed Khellil Abbasi, executive director of competitions and football development at Qatar Stars League. 

Qatar has long been investing in local football and the domestic sports industry. With Aspire Academy a regional athletics centre and Aspetar, the Gulf region’s first specialised orthopaedic and sports medicine hospital.

Aspire Academy graduated most of Qatar’s National football team players that won the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, the first major regional competition to be won by team ‘Al-Anabi’. Many sports critics cited the scientific approach taken by Aspire towards its students as a major factor in the national team’s victory during that tournament. 


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