SAP for the win
Aspire Academy brings SAP on-board to help drive Qatar’s sporting agenda
Since opening its doors in 2004, Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence has become one of the most reputable national sports academies in the world.
Part of the Aspire Zone Foundation, the academy is credited with playing a vital role in Qatar’s U-19 national football team becoming the reigning AFC Champion from Myanmar in 2014. The U-19 team then went on to participate in the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, while the U-23 team reached the semi-finals of the Asian Cup for the first time in 32 years.
The academy has also proved successful with its athletics programme with three of its graduates — Mutaz Barshim, Ashraf El Seify and Abubaker Haydar Abdalla — qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
Rather than resting on its laurels, the leadership behind the Aspire Academy hold high aspirations to continue driving the facility’s development and reputation. Aiming to become of the world’s top youth sports academies by 2020, the facility is set to expand with the launch of Qatar’s first national centre for football in 2017.
Additionally, the academy’s strategy has shifted its focus towards the rapid development of its national teams, falling in line with the standards expected from a global sporting hub. It is an important distinction considering the GCC nation is set to host the IAAF World Athletics Championship Doha 2019 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Achieving this accolade will undoubtedly require more than a tough training regime, or having the right talent on the pitch. For that reason, Aspire Academy has brought on global technology firm SAP to deploy advanced analytics, in order to give Qatar’s national sports teams the competitive edge.
“What we hope to get out of this partnership is something that will not only benefit Aspire Academy, but the overall spectrum of sports in Qatar, and that is to have technology behind the data analytics that we use for improving performance,” beams Ivan Bravo, director general, Aspire Academy.
“We collect a lot of information about our athletes and until today, we have done that in a very isolated way… we have a lot of homemade products that gives us the information we are looking for, but does not allow us to evolve, and go into next phase as we develop our athletes. We know from the capabilities from SAP, from their drive and passion in sport, that they are the ideal partner for this.”
The deployment of SAP Analytics will enable the academy’s coaches, athletes, sports scientists and management to access real-time data, whether on a personal computer or mobile device. The collated data will comprise of information on athlete performance development, sports science, and sports operations management.
If the projects holds a ring of familiarity, it likely stems from the fact that SAP Analytics and Big Data analytics played a significant role in the success story of the German National football team’s win in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Since then, the platform has been adopted and further improved with the participation of a number of clubs and leagues in Europe, which includes the City Football Group, FC Bayern Munich, and TSG Hoffenheim among others.