Accra, May 31, GNA - Qatar, an oil rich country in the Middle East remains highly optimistic of staging the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the first ever to be hosted in the Region.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad al Thani, Chairman of the Bid Committee a few weeks ago in Zurich when they presented their bid, remarked that the public support at home and across the Region is overwhelming and their bid represents hopes and dreams of the Middle East and the Arab world.
Nasser Al-Khater, Communications Director of the Qatar 2022 World Cup also added that critical to their aspirations is to host a tournament that will last in the minds of all.
\"The most important feature of our bid is the deep legacy it would have, and this is in no way limited to the Region. It will be the first ever World Cup in the Middle East and would go a long way in bridging cultural divides between East and West that are often inhibited by ignorance, suspicion, politics and war.
\"We want to show the world our unique blend of traditional Arab culture and hospitality mixed with breathtaking modernity and progress.\"
The Qatar bid has so0 far received several endorsements with Frenchman Bruno Metsu, Cameroonian legend Roger Milla, Samir Al Jaber (Saudi Arabia), Pep Guardiola (Spain), Ronald de Boer (Netherlands), Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina) amongst others serving as Global Ambassadors of the aspiring host.
Qatar plans to build stadiums some of which will be dismantled after the World Cup and given to developing countries. They also plan to develop a cooling technology in open stadiums which will all be linked by metro lines.
The Committee members said that the compactness of the event will be such that fans can stay in one part of the country and be able to watch games in all the match venues as the journeys may not be more than one hour trip on fast trains.
The Qatar 2022 sets out to be a completely new type of World Cup. Compact to the benefit of the fans and the environment, customized to the benefit of the participating teams and to create a strong basis for the sport in the entire Region.
It was observed by the writer that in Qatar, history and the future will come together in historic choice of the host nation. In a global age with media and technology bringing continents closer together - Qatar is truly in the Middle, neither in the East nor the West.
What Qatar is proposing is a World Cup that perfectly reflects the FIFA slogan \"For the Game; for the World\".
The peoples\' love for sports is unrivalled with football by far being the most popular whilst tennis, cricket, golf, athletics, water-skiing, diving, sailing, jet-skiing, drag-racing, rally-driving and horse riding gradually continue to gain seemingly public interest.
When Qataris win a tournament, as they did by winning the 2006 Asian Games football gold medal as hosts, the entire country took to the streets in massive celebration. Qataris are also passionate followers of international football and its stars.
The history of football in Qatar dates back to 1948, when it was first played by workers of oil company living in the country. Soon after the first permanent football teams were formed and competitions were arranged. After five decades, Al Najah, the first football club was formed in Qatar, with other teams following suit with over 6,500 registered professional footballers playing in the oil-rich state.
There are four major competitions every season in the Region: the Sheikh Jassim Cup followed by the Qatar Stars League, the Heir Apparent Cup and Emir of Qatar Cup.
The country has become a favourite destination for visiting teams\' for their training camps and exhibition matches, ranging from youth competitions with strong Champions League participation to major friendly matches.
The history of staging successful tourneys by the Arabian Peninsula country dates back to the early 1990\'s with the FIFA World Youth Championship in 1995. The event was organised in record time (less than two weeks) following the withdrawal of the original hosts. Three venues in Doha hosted 32 games, contested by 16 teams and it is for this that the Communications Director, Al-Khater believes their achievement at the youth level puts them on the right path as far as the senior World Cup is concerned.
Qatar has played host to several international competitions including the IAAF Qatar Athletic Super Grand Prix, Qatar Motor GP, Qatar Masters Golf tournament and the WTA Qatar Total Open Tennis tournament and recently the IAAF World Indoor Championships.
Early this year, following a speech by the Qatar 2022 Bid Chief Executive Officer, Hassan Al-Thawadi at the 33rd Conference of Arab Youth and Sports Ministers, the assembled ministers pledged their support for Qatar\'s bid to become the first country in the Middle East to host the FIFA World Cup.
Even FIFA President, Sepp Blatter has added his voice to the fact that a it\'s about time a country in the Middle East hosts the Mundial.
\"When you are able to organize the Asian Games, your ability is definitely not put into question,\" Blatter echoed at a recent visit to the Arab country.
Blatter later gave a vote of confidence to the Middle East\'s ability to host major sporting events like the FIFA World Cup as he highlighted the Region\'s organizational capabilities, hospitality and the comfortable stadia and transportation.
Meanwhile Qatar faces stiff competition from Australia, Japan and South Korea, who are also bidding for the hosting rights of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
A GNA Sports Feature by Kofi Addae