“Responsibilities begin in dreams,” wrote the famous Irish poet W.B. Yeats. Literary works, like music and other forms of art, are immortal. They remain relevant for decades and centuries. I remembered these lines when I recently visited Doha, the capital of the Arab nation of Qatar. The country has been cherishing a dream for more than a decade, which is to attract a global audience when it hosts the FIFA World Cup in the final two months of 2022. It is indeed a huge responsibility and the small peninsular nation is doing its best. Let’s go ahead to make this sporting event a success.
The occasion of our visit was the Lusail Super Cup, in many ways a final dress rehearsal to examine Qatar’s preparation to host the World Cup. The match between the defending league champions Saudi Arabia (Al Hilal) and Egypt (Zamalek) was held on 18 December at the Lusail Stadium, the venue of the World Cup final. The stadium, which can host 80,000 spectators, was choked. Fans came as-a-block from neighboring Saudi Arabia and other Middle-Eastern countries, as well as international journalists and top representatives of football’s governing body.
The event helped organizers test out not only the facilities at the stadium, but also their transportation system, which includes a newly constructed state-of-the-art metro rail, which is expected to bear the burden of facilitating communication of more than two million fans. hopefully. Tour the country in about ten weeks’ time.
The stadium itself is a work of art. Its design is inspired by the interplay of light and shadow that characterizes the ‘Fanar’ lantern. Its shape and facade echo the intricate decorative motifs on bowls and other vessels that characterized the golden age of arts and craftsmanship in the Arab and Islamic world.
notion of battle
Ever since the rights to the 2022 FIFA World Cup were given to Qatar in 2010, there has been much criticism and scrutiny. But with the event just days away, the organizers hope to change the perception of the world.
“Journalists and members of the media know that Qatar has faced a lot of criticism from the very beginning. We have always maintained the fact that those who have not been to Qatar will have a different perception on their visit to Qatar,” Nasser Al-Khtar, CEO of the FIFA World Cup 2022, said in a press conference ahead of the Lusail Super Cup.
“We believe that a lot of the criticism has been unwarranted and not based on factual reality. What we thought was fair criticism that we have taken on board. Qatar has developed a lot over the past 10 years and this has helped Qatar Significant changes have taken place in India. Proud of today,” he said.
The biggest question mark was about the climate as the players could struggle on the field even though the temperature remained in the mid 20 degrees (Celsius) in the winter months. But those fears have been allayed as the stadiums have been equipped with an air-conditioning system that will keep the sports area as well as the stands cool. We encountered this first hand during the Lusail Super Cup, and the experience was quite comfortable that night when the heat and humidity were at its peak.
Another major concern for traveling fans was the availability of alcohol during the event, as drinking is not allowed in public areas in Qatar. The organizers raised a lot of questions on the liquor policy for the tournament and they said that the sale of beer will be allowed in select areas which include ‘fan zones’. But he also told that no one can bring liquor into the country from outside.
“I think alcohol will not be allowed through the airport and through suitcases. There are places where alcohol will be sold across the country,” said Colonel Jassim Abdulrahim Al Sayed of the Security and Security Steering Committee.
Keeping an eye on the families, the organizers also informed that the sale of liquor will be allowed after 6.30 pm in the main fan zone.
“We are working as usual like any other World Cup.
“Very simply, we have always said that the sale of alcohol will be available in specific regions in Qatar.
“The Fan Fest will serve alcohol from 6:30 pm as it will attract a lot of families and kids and we want to give them the opportunity to be in an alcohol-free zone for some part of the day. Afterwards, fans will easily find alcohol . available,” said CEO Al-Khatar.
attraction in abundance
While the World Cup is certainly a momentous occasion for Qatar and Qataris, it is really just a stepping stone for the country. They plan to use the event as a launch pad to project Qatar as a major tourist destination.
Doha as a city is an amalgamation of ancient Bedouin traditions and modern day architecture and life. While tourists and admirers will be captivated by the futuristic architecture of many skyscrapers, they will also be transported back to medieval times when they step into the narrow streets of the old Market Souk Vakif.
The western bay that borders the Persian Gulf is home to resorts and hotels and their small marinas, which provide a luxurious getaway and have many restaurants where tourists can sample local cuisine.
The desert offers attractions of camping and camel rides, while dhow boat rides at sunset can be the perfect way for visitors to unwind.
The National Museum, housed in a building inspired by the intricate design of desert rose crystals found in Qatar, is an architectural marvel from the outside. The museum itself is a storehouse of abundant information about the country’s history and its achievements and presents it in an interactive manner.
3-2-1 Sports Museum is another great place to visit especially for sports lovers. It currently houses Olympic torches and memorabilia from 100 famous sports stars, including Indian legends Major Dhyan Chand, Sachin Tendulkar and MC Mary Kom.
Overall, Qatar is opening its arms and asking the world to experience its unique culture and landscape while hosting the FIFA World Cup.
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