By Onochie Anibeze
Qatar 2022 is still two years away but the hosts say they are ready for the tournament. Friday, one of eight venues for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the Al Rayyan Stadium, was declared open.
The inauguration ceremony was climaxed with a football match, the final of the 2020 Amir Cup between Al Sadd and Al Arabi. The 40,000-capacity venue will host seven World Cup matches, including a round of 16 matches.
The inauguration of the stadium will serve as a first test event for the ground. Al Rayyan Sports Club will take up residence at the stadium.
African legend, Samuel Eto Fils who is an ambassador of the Qatar 2022 World Cup was part of the inauguration ceremony and spared a moment to chat with journalists from across Africa through a virtual press conference.
Eto who was in high spirits said that Qatar 2022 World Cup could provide the continent with the greatest opportunity to progress beyond the quarter final stage at the World, the highest attained by an African team.
Asked if Qatar could provide the atmosphere for African teams to go beyond the quarter finals , the Cameroon legend said Qatar 2022 would offer African teams the best opportunity to do well. Said he, Qatar could be where African nations can succeed. The talent has always been there, but the major inhibition against the progress of African teams at the World Cup has been poor management. Africa is still lagging behind in organisation.
Eto observed that Africa has top stars competing among the best around the world and didn’t see why the continent’s representatives wouldn’t ft match the best from anywhere else in the world. Qatar 2022 could be the turning point for African nations to succeed at the World Cup, h he said.
He tasked African football federations to prepare their teams well ahead of major tournaments. Federations should prepare their teams well to be able to compete at the highest level, Eto said, while wishing African teams well at the tournament.
Outside the pitch, it is good news for Africa as the continent stands a good chance of benefiting enormously from Qatar 2022. Most of the stadiums are collapsible and it is said that after the tournament, the Qatar government would dismantle parts of the stadia and donate them to developing countries.
Eto described the Al Rayyan stadium as beautiful and unique, adding that the general atmosphere would offer fans a unique experience.
The Al Rayyan Stadium is the fourth World Cup venue to be completed, underwriting that Qatar’s preparations for the global finals are well progressed. Our World Cup preparations remain on track, with 90% of infrastructure projects completed, h said the secretary general of the local organizing committee Hassan Al Thawadi previously in a statement. We look forward to unveiling more stadiums next year.
Last year the Amir Cup final also served as a marquee moment for Qatari organizers when the match inaugurated the 40,000-capacity Al Wakrah Stadium. In December, Qatar hosted the FIFA Club World Cup, but at the last minute plans for the Education City Stadium to become the centerpiece venue of the competition had to be ditched. The stadium has however opened in the meantime. The Khalifa International Stadium was completed previously.