High Stakes As The World Cup Begins For Qatar

Qatar aims to bolster its credentials as global player and display strength to regional rivals.

DOHA: The first World Cup to be held in the Middle East gets underway in Qatar on Sunday. It’s a high-stakes event for the tiny country, which has endured a storm of criticism and bet its reputation on hosting a successful game.

Prior to the first game between the hosts Qatar and Ecuador at 1440 GMT, the stadium’s opening ceremony will take place.

There were few information about the visiting heads of state, but Algeria’s president and the UN secretary general were said to have arrived on Saturday by official media.

The new official tournament song, Dreamers, will be performed live on stage by Qatari artist Fahad Al-Kubaisi and South Korean vocalist Jungkook of the K-pop boy band BTS, FIFA announced in a statement early Sunday.

After facing increasing criticism for its treatment of foreign employees, LGBT rights, and social restrictions, such as prohibiting alcohol from stadiums and public displays of affection, Qatar and FIFA are hoping the focus will shift to action on the field. Additionally, the organisers have refuted claims of hosting rights bribes.

The wealthiest gas producer and the smallest country to host soccer’s largest international tournament, Qatar, wants to demonstrate its might to rivals in the region and strengthen its position as a global player.

At the FIFA Fan Festival’s opening ceremony on Saturday in the heart of Doha, some attendees enjoyed their first sips of beer as hundreds of employees, all males, gathered in a sports arena in an industrial area on the outskirts of the city where no alcohol was being provided. There, they will be able to watch games.

“Naturally, I didn’t purchase a ticket. They’re expensive, and I should put that money to better use by giving it to my family back home, for example “Security guard Kasim, a citizen of Ghana who has lived and worked in Qatar for four years, told Reuters.

Neville, a 24-year-old Kenyan who studied nutrition, and Willy, a fellow countryman who supports Manchester City, were recruited to serve as security personnel for the occasion. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime, and it’s well worth it, according to Neville.

Numerous migrant labourers who struggled to build the tournament’s infrastructure in Qatar will watch from the sidelines since they can’t afford to enter the stadiums. Although Qatar has received harsh criticism for how it treats migrant workers, it cites to labour changes designed to safeguard them from abuse and claims that the system is still being improved.

With more than 1.2 million visitors anticipated, more than a third of Qatar’s population, most of whom are foreign workers, crowd management will be essential.

On Saturday, workers were finishing up outdoor gardens and sidewalks and bringing building supplies to a spot close to the National Museum, where a large crowd of spectators, including supporters wearing Argentina shirts, were milling about.

The gas wealth in Qatar has spurred a development frenzy that has altered Doha’s appearance in the lead-up to the tournament, the most costly World Cup ever organised at a cost of $220 billion.

Clusters of men wearing thobes, the national clothing of Qatar, went by singing and chanting in the restored Msheireb neighbourhood, which is now home to high-end boutiques, some of which are not yet open, and hipster coffee shops.

Fans will also be arriving on daily shuttle flights from neighbouring cities like Dubai because there aren’t many hotels in Qatar.

In a place in Doha where fan portacabins are located, England supporter Neil Gahan said, “When we got in it was kind of like a work site.”

Although the cabins were “not fantastic,” he noted that there were adjacent sporting venues and enormous screens. Yes, I believe everything will work out.

Written by Aly Bukshi

The editorial staff at IPIN is a team of news publishing experts led by Aly Bakshi. We publish interesting and informative news/articles all over the world. Our aim is to provide readers with the latest and most up-to-date information possible.