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2022 World Cup: Criticisms good for Qatar, says Africa’s top star Ikpeba

*Thumbs up for Hassan Al Thawadi

There were issues about the 2010 World Cup in South Africa until the tournament came to pass.

And it was a huge success. The Africans are still savouring the success even after the World Cup in Brazil which also faced many issues including threats from their own citizens. It still came to pass, scoring well in organisation and promotion of the game of football.

Al Thawadi
Al Thawadi

Russia are already having theirs but the tournament will hold and followers of the game will, thereafter, celebrate the success of 2018 World Cup, ditto the 2022 event in Qatar.

That Qatar has the resources to host a successful World Cup is not in doubt. They have vowed to use the World Cup project to develop more infrastructure and human capital development of not only Qatar but also the entire Middle East region.

If Qatar has the resources to build facilities and develop infrastructure for the World Cup do they have the manpower to host and organise a successful World Cup?

Victor Ikpeba, Africa’s footballer of the year in 1997, who is supporting Qatar to host a successful World Cup, says the profiles of Hassan Al Thawadi and members of his team are impressive. Ikpeba made name playing for Standard Liege of Belgium, Monaco of France and Borussia Dortmund in Germany.

He said of Hassan Al Thawadi, who is the Secretary General, Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy for the 2022 World Cup that “since I picked interest in what they are doing in Qatar and the controversy about their hosting of the World Cup, I have taken time to look at so many things about 2022. I think that they have quality personnel to achieve success in 2022. I equally know that, like other World Cups, they will not do it alone. Of course it will not be rosy.

There would be challenges, serious ones for that matter. But I think that the end justifies the means. They should be able to surmount many of the challenges. Fifa is there to assist. And with people like Al Thawadi, they will get things right.

He was part of their bid team and he did a good job of it. He went to school in the United Kingdom. He is a lawyer, who has worked in many sectors, acquiring experience from different fields. You don’t buy experience, you know. Football is full of politics and I’m sure he has learned about it even if it’s the hard way, because I don’t feel they deserve the bashing they are getting from few countries, who lost out in the bid for the World Cup.”

Al Thawadi’s appointment as Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for the 2022 World Cup followed his success as CEO of Bid Committee. He read law at Sheffield University. He is the General Counsel at Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and Qatar Holding. Al Thawadi has worked for Qatar Petroleum and he holds board position at Hassad Food Company.

Ikpeba continued: “It is good that the World Cup is going to all continents and parts of the world. It shouldn’t be for only Europe and the Americas. Qatar definitely have challenges but they should be equal to the task. Beijing had issues with the western media before the 2008 Olympic Games. But they had a superb show, which is still the envy of the west. But I think that the criticisms and attacks are good for them, as they will make them not to relent. So in a way, what is happening is good for Qatar”

Victor Ikepba
Victor Ikepba

The greatest problem the Middle East country has is their weather. It is sometimes above 40 degrees centigrade at summer and this is certainly not football-friendly. It is against this background that many strongly recommend that the 2022 event should hold in winter. Qatar have promised to install cooling equipment in the stadiums and their environs. However, the World Cup, being a carnival of sort, many would prefer it holds during winter. Some football leagues may have to adjust their calendar to accommodate the World Cup in winter.

Weather was also a big issue during the USA ’94 World Cup and the just concluded one in Brazil. But Qatar is expected to be worse. However, the cooling technology may reduce the effects of weather hostility during the summer.

Qatar are determined to bring the World Cup to the Middle East. Their passion for the game is growing daily and the 1995 World Youth Soccer Championship, which  they hosted within a short notice remains one of their testimonies for organisational capacity. Passion remains their driving force.

 

 

 


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