On December 18, 2022 – Qatar will play host the World Cup final which is one of the most watched sporting events in the world. All eyes will be on the big game as this will be the first ever World Cup being hosted in the Middle-East and a geographically ‘small’ nation which brings the advantage of being able to watch two-to-three games in a day.
If you look at the history, there are three dates in particular which define everything about Qatar. It was on December 18, 1876 that Sheikh Jassim Bin Mohammed Bin Thani took over Qatar’s reins from his father. He is considered the ‘Founder of Qatar’as he helped unite the people of the state. He built a deep sense of pride, improved education and also fought many wars. It were his endeavours that helped establish the pearl trade and to an extent, improved the standards of living for the locals.
It wasn’t just his administrative or fighting skills which came to the fore, as he was also a noted poet.
The next major event was in 1971 when Qatar became an independent state on September 3rd. This was after there was a Federation of Emirates formed in 1968 which comprised of the Middle-East nations. However, they broke away from the contingent to form an independent nation.
Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Thani assumed control of Qatar in a coup on July 27, 1995 and is considered as the visionary behind the modern and technologically advanced Qatar. Being a keen connoisseur of sport and a diver himself, it is believed that he was one of the key figures in charting the country’s ambition to host the World Cup.
They developed the Qatar Vision 2030 where the country had to invest in world-class infrastructure to create a dynamic and more diversified economy in which the private sector would play a prominent role.
The World Cup will go a long way in achieving these visions by opening up the country to the entire world. The stereotypes that exist about the country could well be broken as the fans descend by droves into Qatar.
And Qatar as a nation has pulled out all stops to ensure the facilities exceed world-class standards. There were questions raised on whether the heat and climatic conditions in Qatar would be suitable for the World Cup and a lack of footballing culture.
These words from Sheikh Jassim Bin Mohammed Bin Thani from one of his famous poem "Ka’bat Almdh’yom" (A haven for the oppressed) resonate in this regard - "We have been plighted by many serious adversities. Yet that has neither weakened our firm will nor stances. We have shown resilience and patience despite catastrophic plights."
They have already shown they are capable by hosting the 2006 Asian Games. In fact, Qatar regularly hosts major sporting events in various disciplines like ATP World Tour tennis tournament, the Qatar MotoGP Grand Prix, the Qatar Masters, a PGA European Tour tournament, and the season-finale WTA Tour Tennis Championships. Next year, the IAAF World Championships will also be held in the country.
With Qatar overcoming challenges like the economic blockage imposed on them by several Arab nations to build the infrastructure for the World Cup, one can expect a fantastic experience in 2022 which would comprise of pioneering initiatives like the Cooling Technology and state-of-the-art stadiums. Infact, the country would have elevated their infrastructure to a whole another level in all fields.
Four years from now, Qatar would celebrate a historic landmark, not just in their sporting history but of their nation. They would have a novel way of celebrating their National Day. Yes, there will be the military parade, cultural and theatrical shows, music, cuisines and entertainment activities but none more significant from a global perspective than hosting the World Cup final.