Every four years we eagerly wait for an event, which can only be categorized as the grandest of all sporting spectacles out there. For a period of four weeks in that year we see thirty-two nations, and their 352 representatives battle it out for the most coveted medal/cup that can ever be placed in their trophy rooms. We see fans and the average sporting enthusiasts, from all over the world, cheer for that one county they pay homage to, from a nationalistic standpoint or purely based on appreciation. In those four weeks, we experience amazing atmosphere and people in general. This is what the World Cup stands for and this is what it brings.
As the various nations, all across the globe, aim at qualifying for the event in Brazil two years from now, we can only imagine how Brazil would be like in 2014.
Being the nation of football lovers, it is quite capable of hosting the event. Having proven it once in 1950 where the host nation lost to Uruguay in the finals.
Fast-forward 8 years from 2014, skipping the event in Russia, an oil and natural gas rich country with a population of 1.7 Million comes into the picture.
Qatar will be given an opportunity to host the most prized event in the football world. From all the absurdly wealthy nations in the Middle East, it will be Qatar that will be in the center of attraction.
The doubt, if I could put one across, would be: Is Qatar ready for a world cup?
Gave quite an intro to that question, didn’t I?
There are a few issues; I would want you to take a look at, with me.
Most importantly: The pull factor: Does Qatar have one from a football perspective?
It obviously does, as the country is and has been a home, for either a season or a few seasons, to quite a few big name footballers. The likes of Claudio Caniggia, Ali Daei, Fernando Hierro, Steffan Effenberg, and Josep Guardiola (Yes, you read right – Josep Guardiola) have prolonged their career in the country. Money would be the major motivation here but keeping that aspect aside, they were in Qatar.
In terms of events alone, in 2010, they were the proud hosts of the Asian cup (an Asian equivalent of the Euro championships). For the event of a big magnitude, it was very well organized taking place without any major glitches.
Moreover, the name of the country is also inscribed in front of the jersey adorned by one of the best club teams presently in the world – Barcelona (Qatar foundation). Qatar, as of late, has also been in the limelight with their high profile acquisitions of clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain (France) and Malaga (Spain). And so is the case with the latest talks of Qatar Airways being involved in sponsoring Tottenham Hotspurs.
Qatar is also home to the recently crowned Asian club champions – Al Sadd that displayed its potential in the AFC champions league final against Jeonbuk Motors. Moreover, their recent thrashing by Barcelona at the FIFA world club championships, should give the country some positive credibility. How? Well, just because they represented Qatar, which in turn represented Asia in the tournament.
All of these factors kind of prove that they know a thing or two about football.
Ok fine, what about the average individual? World Cup has brought out the true character of the nation in whichever country it was hosted in. This atmosphere includes the occasional alcohol induced celebrations on the streets and elsewhere. Now, if you know your facts, this will not be possible on the streets of a country where the average individual’s life is governed by a religion that shapes up their very reason for existence.
On top of this I can also confirm that you will not be seeing any bikini clad women on the streets as one would have come across either in Germany, South Africa or will come across in Brazil.
But there are still things to do here like going to the local market places, shopping, dune bashing, etc. Yes, all this would be interesting to a person who is making that trip from miles away just to be part of this colossal event.
What about traveling to and within the country? Having personally traveled to Qatar, a while back, I can clearly say that it would not be an issue. Especially, for those travelling from the West and the Far East as they will not have to worry about visas to the country. On the other hand, South East Asians will have to get one. Well, that would not be a big deal as one is needed to travel anywhere in the world anyways excluding Nepal, Sri Lanka, and a few others.
Weather anyone? We all know what the weather is like in this region during the summers. It’s as hot as the hinges of hell. FYI, no, I have not been to hell. Can the athletes or visitors, alike, cope with this? Not really. I was born and currently live here and I still can’t. Then again, it would be sweet music to the ears if FIFA opens up to the idea of a winter World Cup that is presently being discussed.
Lastly lets talk about safety; it is understandable to worry about travelling to a region that is currently in turmoil. Qatar as it stands today posses no danger. In fact, the threat that South Africa presented at the time of 2010 does not exist here. Especially for all you women out there, I can tell you that this would be the safest country you could ever be in. If anyone lays a hand on you (without your consent of course), that individual will be taken care of by the authorities, SEVERELY. And when I say severely, I mean severely.
Well, if I had to summarize, this event if goes well will certainly raise the profile of the region as a whole. It might possibly even reduce some of the anti-Arab sentiment that currently exists globally.
We are 11 years away from it. Neither can we predict the future, identify whether we would have surrogates or avatars running around come 2022, now how the region would be at that point of time, but one thing I could say is: it will all be worth it. Qatar is ready for a world cup.
Saying it from what I see and what I can realistically imagine.