Khalifa Stadium visit generates passion among community leaders

An inclusive community and sustainable state-of-the-art stadiums are two pillars of Qatar’s plans for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ and the two merged seamlessly recently when representatives from the communities residing in Qatar visited Khalifa International Stadium. Most of the 31 communities who had signed the memorandum of understanding with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) to support the first ever FIFA World Cup™ in the Middle East region and the second in Asia were part of the visit to the proposed 2022 host venue which will potentially stage matches up to the quarter-final stage.

Prior to the visit to the stadium, which had received a four-star sustainability rating earlier this year, the community representatives were briefed by experts at the SC’s Tournament Operations and Planning department on the 2022 FIFA World Cup™. Kofi Atuah, the community representative from Ghana, said: “The world’s most followed football competition will help propel social and economic progress in Qatar, and my community will play an integral part in this transformation. We have a football-mad community in Qatar cutting across classes, but none more so than our workers. They have showcased their football skills in various tournaments such as the Workers Cup and the Qatar Community Football League.”

For the representative of the Pakistani community, Riyaz Ahmed Bakali, the visit to Khalifa Stadium was time to reflect on his nation’s contributions towards the growth of Qatar’s infrastructure. “Members of our community take pride in our contribution towards Qatar’s public infrastructure. The hosting of the World Cup is the culmination of the country’s growth and therefore we are emotionally linked to the tournament. We meet about two times a month and talk about Qatar’s preparations for the World Cup.” As he stood in the place where the pitch will be at the Khalifa International Stadium, Abderrazzak Naissabouri, who represents the Moroccan community, reminisced about his team’s emphatic 3-0 win against Scotland in the group stages of the 1998 FIFA World Cup™. 

“I was part of the travelling support in France and witnessed the win at Saint Etienne,” he said. “Qatar 2022 is an Arab World Cup and if Morocco qualify I am sure we can witness more of similar moments, perhaps on this very same pitch. The Moroccan community is proud of the first World Cup in the Arab world and we will contribute towards it just as if it were held in our own country.” Resident community leaders from Belgium, Ghana, Jordan and Switzerland signed the MoU earlier this year, with 27 representatives of 27 nationalities having signed in November 2015.