Former Netherlands and Ajax international Frank de Boer is confident Qatar can put up a spectacular show when they host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
With the 2022 edition set to be the first World Cup to be held in winter (during November), doubts have been raised about the feasibility of the tournament in the Arab state and the impact it could have on the participating teams.
De Boer, though, is completely unperturbed and has backed Qatar to outdo Russia which hosted the most recent edition earlier this year.
“I don't see any problem with the weather. Right now outside it is 18-25 degrees (Celsius), which is perfect for playing football. So I am not worried about it. The most beautiful thing is it is so compact. You can see three games in one day. The most important thing is that you can feel that there is a World Cup going on,” the Dutch great told Goal during the unveiling of the Lusail stadium in Doha on Saturday.
“In Russia, they did a great job but it is so spread out that you don't really feel that a World Cup is going on. A World Cup should be for the fans. What I experienced in South Africa, in Johannesburg where so many teams were together. The fans together celebrating the World Cup. We are going to experience this even more,” he added.
The Dutch agonisingly missed out on qualification for the 2018 edition in Russia but de Boer remains confident in current generation who he is backing to come good in 2022.
“I already stated that a younger generation is coming. We just have to patient. Every generation comes and goes. And by the time 2022 arrives, they will be between 25-30 (age). The perfect time to win prizes,” said the 48-year-old.
Ajax youngsters Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt have been drawing the attention of Europe’s top clubs for some time now with potential moves to Barcelona being bandied about.
De Boer, an Ajax ambassador, conceded that it will be difficult for the Eredivisie club to hold on to the two starlets.
“I want them to them stay (for one more year). But it is hard for them to stay if clubs like Manchester City, Real Madrid or Barcelona are pulling. You have to be very tough to say them no. I cannot blame them if they decide to go and take the opportunity. They have to take a decision what is best for them. They have to look for a team where they can adapt easily, the philosophy of the club and what kind of manager will be rearing them,” he said.
“I hope they stay with Ajax. This year we were a surprise in the Champions League. We did really well to qualify. The last game against Bayern was amazing. Very entertaining. We always stand up. We have so many young talents coming up."