The small Gulf emirate is not a country with a historic footballing custom, globally or within the region. Many have optional that if the FIFA World Cup was to come to the Arab world for the first time, then why not Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia or flat KSA, who have all qualified for the FIFA World Cup 2022 on multiple occasions.
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Though Qatar’s matches at the Arab Cup surely drew the largest crowds, the atmosphere was frequently passive, with only very small pockets of followers around the stadium creation their voices heard. Big instants in matches bring about brief cheers, echoing the atmosphere of short-form cricket games. Temporarily, when the likes of Algeria, Egypt and Morocco play, even with stadiums far from full, the air is electric.
Moroccan followers mimic the Viking Thunderclap made famed by the Icelandic national side, with the thriving applause reverberating around Qatar’s air-conditioned Education City Stadium through games against Jordan.
Seasoned Egyptian football followers sing the darks away, counting the famous Ya Trika chant lauding their exiled icon Aboutrika. Qatar may have provided the high-level facilities and stadia, but it was other Arab countries who carried the party over the past month. For the much bigger tournament FIFA world cup, the hosts will be confident of their noisy regional neighbour’s reappearance.
“The FIFA World Cup has never been mentioned to by us as a Qatari tournament. We’ve continually raised to it as an Arab event,” the Qatari official speaks.
He points to the designs of the stadium as a case in point: Lusail is a bowl, signifying Arab food and hospitality; Al-Bayt is in the shape of a tent, in homage to the Bedouin lifestyle; and Al-Thumama is a gahfiya, a woven hat worn across the Middle East. Algerian forward Yacine Brahimi hopes that the Arab Cup can foster solidarity in the region ahead of the World Cup. For more know about FIFA World Cup Tickets click here.
“I think that sport can be used as an influence to recover situations and recover relationships,” he expressed MEE.
“Arab countries need to show more unity, and perhaps the Arab Cup will be that final piece of the jigsaw. The FIFA World Cup with the dissimilar cultures, different nationalities, different religions, diverse creeds will help us recover the state of play.”
Nuaimi trusts that irrespective of whether Arab sides qualify for tournament Qatar World Cup, followers from the region will make the short journey to Qatar.
“In Brazil, you can see a high presence from Latin America due to the geographic proximity of the tournament Football World cup,” she speaks. So for us, we will be expectant people from the Middle East.
It was just four years before that some of Qatar’s regional neighbours namely KSA, Bahrain, the UAE and, Egypt, cut off all diplomatic ties with Doha, reproving it of meddling in its internal matters and supporting terrorism, which Qatar actively denied.
Exchange ties and regional travel were paused and families have split apart. The barrier ended in January, and support will be welcome ahead of the Football World Cup. The Qatari official supposed that Doha did not deny entry to normal people from the blockading countries throughout the rift and that Saudi football followers enjoyed the Fifa Club World Cup in 2019, which was also held in the city.
“When we first opened the offering programme for Fifa events, over 250,000 people spoke interest. The most requests came from Egypt and KSA at a time when the website was blocked in those countries,” he supposed.
Throughout the initial ceremony of the Arab Cup, the region as a whole was celebrated, with entertainment if by stars from Egypt, Iraq and, beyond, and a unifying acoustic performance joining the national anthems of all the world’s Arabic-speaking nations. It is that essence a sense of the wider Arab world that Qataris hope will make their nation an earnest FIFA World Cup host in a year.
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