This Football World Cup is for all of us in the Arab region

No one mourns the loss of a somewhat more than a person who earned to have it. That old saying relates to former Omani goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi, whose lucrative career for club and country included many top contests, with the notable omission of the Football World Cup.

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This Football World Cup is for all of us in the Arab region
This Football World Cup is for all of us in the Arab region

Al-Habsi sat down to chat to FIFA+ about the Qatar Football World Cup Qatar 2022, which is set to kick off in less than 100 days, and just about his former club Al Hilal, who will start the season without being able to sign new players. Our discussion also takes in the extraordinary performance of Moroccan keeper Yassine Bounou in La Liga last season, as well as the odds of the Arab squads this winter in Qatar. Qatar Football World Cup will be the first Football World Cup tournament to feature more than one team from the Gulf region, rather Al-Habsi sees it as special and a source of pride.

“We’re pleased to see Saudi Arabia and Qatar at the Football World Cup. I’m proud as a footballer and a sportsman in general. We’ve not ever seen this earlier and that shows how football has increased in our region,” he stated.

We’re used to seeing Saudi Arabia at the Football World Cup; they play good football, and they have some good players who know and have shown the self-belief and passion needed to develop, he added. For me, this edition of the Football World Cup will be outstanding, not only for Saudi Arabia or Qatar, but for all the Gulf countries, as well as the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait. For the followers, it will be close to us, and this has now been shown by tickets.

Millions of people would like to come to Qatar. They know it’s going to be a special edition and we’ve seen this in the stadiums and the country in common. Everything will be great. The moment Qatar was said as the 2022 host nation was special for Al-Habsi, who felt instantly confident of the country’s capability to deliver an outstanding edition of the global centrepiece.

This Football World Cup is for all of us in the Arab region
This Football World Cup is for all of us in the Arab region

“I was in a home in Bolton with friends and family. I remember I was playing in the Premier League at the time and the atmosphere was exceptional. Many players and fans were expecting what the Football World Cup would be like in Qatar, and that was 12 years ago. From the moment FIFA made the statement, we were convinced it would be one of the best editions ever,” he described.

How the stadiums have been constructed and the small nature of the tournament shows that it will be a different event, not only for fans who will be viewing from the stands but for those out there as well. Earlier, we’ve always had followers travelling spaces from one stadium to another, which cost them money, but then in Qatar, it will be one month in one place. The stadiums are close to each other, so it will be excellent.

Successful performance by Qatar in November and December should not come as a shock to anyone, especially after the country hosted the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, which was deemed a dress rehearsal for the Football World Cup.

Al-Habsi, who was an emissary for that Arab Cup, stated: “Everything was great at that event. I was there from start to end. Qatar showed how ready they are for a big contest. The Arab Cup was a great tournament held in amazing stadiums a huge event with many fans joining. Even though things were difficult with the pandemic, Qatar did a great job.”

Before the Arab Cup, Covid-19 had stopped followers from travelling, but Qatar excelled in organizing that tournament Football World Cup. Likewise, they learned a lot because that’s what occurs when you stage a big event. As a fan, the Arab Cup thankful me even more about Qatar’s ability to deliver a great Football World Cup. Worldwide Tickets and Hospitality offers Football World Cup tickets for the Qatar Football World Cup at the best prices. Football fanatics and buy Football World Cup Tickets at exclusively discounted prices.

This Football World Cup is for all of us in the Arab region
This Football World Cup is for all of us in the Arab region

The tournament was a test for Qatar, and they followed with flying colours. It was an amazing tournament World Cup that featured great sides, including Qatar, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Egypt. I loved it a lot. With the 100-days-to-go milestone going just over a week ago, a bit FIFA+ is marking with a daily countdown article, Al-Habsi still cannot think how quickly the time has gone.

“I can’t think there are less than 100 days to go. We’ve been waiting for more than 11 or 12 years and were expecting when it would be played, but then now there are less than 100 days left. As a fan, I think it will be a very aggressive tournament. Great players and well-known squads will face each other, although we believe that our Arab sides will do better this time around,” the Omani stated.

Qatar as crowds will enjoy massive provision and Saudi Arabia, being very close to Qatar, will have a huge advantage as well. It will be a great occasion for the rest of the sides. Morocco, Tunisia, and all the Arab squads participating in the Football World Cup will receive substantial support.

As for the Arab players, I will be among the supporters. Morocco has some stars who have the required feel thanks to playing in Europe. They know what a major tournament Qatar World Cup is and are looking forward to it. As I said, when Qatar was granted the right to host the FIFA World Cup, I knew it was not only for Qatar but then for all of us in the Arab region, and this is what we have long imagined. We cannot wait and are very thrilled.

“As a player, I imagined playing in the Football World Cup. I joined in huge tournaments, the English Premier League (PL), and the UEFA Europa League, along with many stars, but then think me, being in the FIFA World Cup is special. I’m proud to be a part of this Qatar World Cup.”

Al-Habsi’s old club, Al Hilal, who enticed him to pay back to Saudi Arabia after years of playing abroad, is presently banned from signing new players. Al-Habsi, though, thinks that this issue will not impact Alzaeem’s risks of retaining the national title.

This Football World Cup is for all of us in the Arab region
This Football World Cup is for all of us in the Arab region

“Al Hilal is always on top. They won the league despite being nine points behind,” he stated.

They played like champions in the final matches and showed how valuable player trust and understanding are to the squad. I’m really with the players they have right now, they can win the league again and make the AFC Champions League final.

Asked about Yassine Bounou, winner of La Liga’s respected Zamora Award for Best Goalkeeper, Al-Habsi stated: “I think Yassine is pushing on great performances. Believe me, it’s not easy for an Arab goalkeeper to go all the way and win the prize for best goalkeeper in Spain. It’s a major contest; you have top goalkeepers, top players, and so winning this is a credit to him. I’m sure he’s at work hard, looking after himself, and proving to everybody that he’s the best.”

That stated this award gives it more accountability. Now he must show this was not a one-off thing. Every season you must win as a squad and claim different trophies as well.

“The supporters in Morocco will believe him to replicate those amazing saves and concerts for the national squad at the Football World Cup. I learn when I was playing in England and then I went to play with the national squad. It was difficult, as the followers were waiting for you to make all these saves, and this is what Yassine must do now.”

This Football World Cup is for all of us in the Arab region
This Football World Cup is for all of us in the Arab region

Al-Habsi is commonly stared at as one of the best Arab keepers in history. He, though, refuses to be matched to great names such as Essam El-Hadary, Mohamed Al-Deayea, and Ezaki Badou, all of whom he has the greatest regard for. Asked who is the best among them all, he told: They’re all great. They all did good things for themselves, their national sides, and their clubs. I’m proud as I played in the Premier League. All these names are very common in the Arab world, so I regard them.

When you play with your squad and win titles or signify your country at the Football World Cup, you merit the utmost credit. I played in Europe for many years, in the Premier League (PL), and won the FA Cup, so for me, I am happy with what I accomplished in my career.

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