(MENAFN- The Peninsula) |
Doha: With 50 days for the kick-off of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Qatar Foundation (QF) employees reminisce about the day Qatar won the bid to host the mega event.
In December 2010, thousands of people sat in front of their television screens waiting for the announcement, hoping that Qatar would win the bid to host the FIFA World Cup.
And then it happened – former FIFA president Sepp Blatter pulled out Qatar's name from the sealed envelope. History was made. This was the first time that the world's biggest football tournament was going to be held in the Middle East.
The journey that began on December 2, 2010, is reaching its final stage. The country is prepared to host an extraordinary event that people all around the world are talking about.
“I am not a football fan,” said Fathea Al Jaber, who is the Head of Accounts in the Finance Department at QF.“I was watching TV with my family without really paying any attention to it, and certainly not thinking we'd win. But when they announced Qatar's name, I jumped out of my seat and hugged my mom, who was crying happy tears. She couldn't believe that Qatar would host the World Cup.”
Re-living that day 12 years ago, Al Jaber said she had so many questions.“I am 24 years old now, so how old will I be in 12 years? Do we have enough stadiums? Do we have the ability to host so many football fans in our country?”
She says that everything still feels surreal. Time has flown so quickly that we are already in 2022, and everyone is counting down the days until the referee's first whistle blows and kicks off the tournament.
Khalifa Al Emadi, an Employee Relations Officer at QF
Khalifa Al Emadi, an Employee Relations Officer at QF, who was with his friends at his majlis watching the announcement on TV, reminisced how the atmosphere turned from complete silence to ecstatic shouts.
“We were so stressed. My friends were discussing the fact that we were bidding against big countries who have a history of hosting mega sporting events, such as the US, Japan, South Korea, and Australia. Some said there was no way we could win, while others said that nothing was impossible.
“The moment Blatter pulled out the card with Qatar's name printed on it was magical. We couldn't control ourselves; we were shouting and throwing our ghutra away. Words cannot describe the happiness we felt that day.”
Al Emadi says that in the years following the bid, many rumours were circulated about Qatar's inability to host the FIFA World Cup and misinformation was spread.“This made us eager to prove everyone wrong and surprise the world with Qatar's ability to host an international mega event.”
Wael Elsaid, the Research Knowledge Manager at QF's Qatar National Research Fund
Wael Elsaid, the Research Knowledge Manager at QF's Qatar National Research Fund, was at a café with his friends on the day of the announcement.
“It had been only a few months since I had arrived in Qatar from Egypt. I couldn't believe how lucky I was to be in a country that would host such a huge event. Attending and being part of the FIFA World Cup was a dream for me.”
Excitedly, Elsaid added:“I started thinking about how I could be a part of the preparations. That's when I planned on becoming a volunteer. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime.
“The best thing about the FIFA World Cup in Qatar is that it will be held during winter. Qatar is a beautiful country, especially during that time of the year. And now people from across the world will get the chance to see its beauty.
“If some people underestimate Qatar due to its small geographical size, they must recognise its enormous and outstanding achievements. I have witnessed many changes over the past 12 years, the stadiums that were built, the infrastructure growth, and the rapid development in such a short period. All these transformations are impressive. I can say that we are all excited and ready for this big event.”
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