Lusail Stadium under construction

…Ghanaian worker says he’ll adopt Qatar as his country

By Foussena Djagba in Doha

The story of 2022 World Cup is not only about Qatar, their people and football. It is also about hundreds of thousands of people Qatar has changed their lives.

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There are thousands of expatriates, experts from various fields and there are the footsoldiers. It is about labour and Africans are already telling their stories.

There are six thousand people working only at the Lusail Stadium and 2,000 of them are Africans. Lusail is still under construction. It is 80,000 capacity stadium that will host the opening and final matches of the 2022 World Cup.

‘Out of the 6,000 workers here 2,000 are Africans. Nigerians and Ghanaians top the number of Africans here,’ said one construction worker while journalists from all over the world toured the site Friday. Amankwa, a Ghanaian was visibly happy and said he would not mind adopting Qatar as his country. He has been in Qatar only three years but his stars are shining.

‘My name and the names of my compatriots here will be written in gold at the end of the day because we have been part of this great legacy from the scratch,’ he said of the construction of the Lusail Stadium. ‘We started from ground zero and see where we are now. Asked about the conditions under which they work he said he was happy because life has been good.

‘Everything is fine. We are happy, the Qatar people are liberal. We live happily as one irrespective of religious differences. I’m a Christian and we go to church without distractions. Conditions of workers have improved so much and we are better for it.’

Amankwa said in three years that he has been working in Qatar he has travelled to Ghana on vacation two times. ‘Right now, I may adopt Qatar as my country. I’m so happy I want to remain here.’

One of the key positions in construction is the office of safety manager. A Nigerian holds that office at the Lusail Stadium that will surely be state-of-the-art on completion. Interestingly, the Nigerian replaced Eugene Okosun, another Nigerian who was hired from London where he was working for the railways.

‘We are doing well, the people (Qatar people) have been nice to us. They are serious about the 2022 World Cup and they are committed to hosting the best World Cup ever as they have promised. We’ll help them achieve that,’ Okosun had said last year while addressing journalists on the site. He is one of the thousands of workers who feel so here in Qatar.

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Foreigners were engaged when Khalifa Stadium was renovated. Africans were among them. Thousands worked at the University City Stadium, Al Janoub Stadium, the magnificent Al Bayt Stadium and more are still working here. Four of the eight stadiums FIFA will need for the World Cup are ready. Qatar will present nine. Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, Hassan Al Thawadi has assured that the stadiums will be ready two years to the World Cup. They are determined to achieve that.

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