FIFA World Cup 2022 kicked off yesterday and Qatar has every reason to be proud of. It has risen as the first Middle Eastern Arab state to host the mega soccer event, and has come up with absolute resoluteness and state-of-the-art infrastructure. The oil rich state has geared up for more than a decade to host the event, since it won the bid in 2010. It is the second country in the Arab world to rise to the occasion and come up with the international standards of a supra-event that the West and the developed world so proudly boast. The United Arab Emirates was the first to host the EXPO-2020, held in 2021 due to the pandemic, and surprised the world by its ultra-executive showcasing to the world at large. This signifies and underscores a pivotal point i.e. the developing world is never lost on talent, expertise and acumen. All it needs is being there at the right time, with the right opportunity and, of course, with the desired treasure trove.
Qatar, the tiny kingdom, has made history, by building a City of Sports and that too with perfection. Seven stadiums, around 100 hotels, an additional airport and Metro network, apart from luxurious hospitality avenues is a treat to the great game of soccer that unites the West and East. While Arab youth are football crazy, and the fact that more than five million audience will be glued on Qatar, makes it a lifetime celebration. Doha’s thrust on raising a sustainable development module and an eco-friendly infrastructure are its salient hallmarks, which will go a long way in paving the way for geopolitical outreach in years to come. The fact that Qatar has spent around $300 billion to further the passion of sport and its national obsession is a glorious achievement in itself.
As the world’s first football made with water-based inks and glues rolls over, some of the fixtures will be of strategic duel. The clash between Iran and the United States, the reigning champion defending the title tooth-and-nail, and the South American giants, especially Argentina and Brazil, maneuvering for a comeback will keep millions on the edge for days to come.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2022.
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