Qatar will host the FIFA Arab Cup™ later this yr, with the draw for the event happening at Katara Opera House on Tuesday, 27 April at 21:00 Doha time.
Twenty-three nationwide groups will compete for the trophy, with matches set to be performed at six FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ venues. The event is considered a remaining rehearsal for the first World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world, which is able to happen from 21 November to 18 December 2022. Ahead of the draw, qatar2022.qa caught up with quite a few Qatar Legacy Ambassadors to talk about the event and its significance forward of the World Cup.
Wael Gomaa, considered one in all Africa’s greatest defenders of all time, stated: “Firstly, the Arab Cup will present the Qatar 2022 organisers with an vital remaining take a look at of stadiums and all of the associated infrastructure that may play a key function in internet hosting a profitable World Cup.
“Secondly, Arab teams from Africa can use the tournament as a welcome opportunity to test their squads for the African Cup of Nations set to take place in early 2022, whereas those Asian countries which end up qualifying for the World Cup can use the tournament to prepare themselves for the big stage,” Gomaa added.
“Thirdly, there are the social implications of the Arab Cup, in that the tournament will unite fans and teams from across the Arab region, something that no other football competition has been able to do at this scale in the recent past.”
Khalid Salman, who famously scored a hat-trick for Qatar in opposition to Brazil on the 1981 FIFA World Youth Championship, believes the Arab Cup will present some extremely anticipated clashes.
“We will have current and former continental champions mixing it up with up-and-coming teams – it will be an exciting tournament and one that shows teams from the Arab region in the best possible light,” stated Salman.
“And to play the tournament at World Cup stadiums while benefiting from World Cup infrastructure, including the transport network, training sites and top-class accommodation, will make it even more special.”
For Ibrahim Khalfan, one other Qatari soccer legend, the FIFA Arab Cup™ would be the end result of an vital yr for the following World Cup hosts.
“The Qatar national team is in the midst of what will be a very formative few months in its preparations. Playing in the European qualifiers, along with their debut in the Gold Cup, will provide key experiences for their growth as a squad,” stated Khalfan.
“The Arab Cup will provide yet another important experience before the World Cup and comes as part of a comprehensive plan put in place by the Qatar Football Association to prepare our team for the big stage.”
Qatar will enter the FIFA Arab Cup™ because the champions of Asia after lifting the continental title in 2019 following an unbeaten run to the trophy, which included victories in opposition to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Korea Republic and Japan.
Adel Khamis, the first Qatari participant to play overseas when he was signed by a Kuwaiti membership in the late Nineties, believes getting into the event as continental champions will give the gamers a lift.
“Although many of the participating nations in the Arab Cup will boast players from the world’s best clubs, and will come into the tournament wanting to make a statement prior to the World Cup, I am certain that the Qatari team will prove to be a difficult opponent,” stated Khamis.
Despite the recognition of the sport in the Arab area, the 23 taking part nations have largely failed to qualify previous the second spherical on the FIFA World Cup™, with Morocco being the first nation to make it out of the group stage at Mexico 86. Since then, solely Saudi Arabia and Algeria have made it to the second spherical, in 1994 and 2014 respectively.
Mubarak Mustafa, nonetheless, sees that the standard of Arab groups has been progressively enhancing in current years, pointing to the truth that 4 groups from the area certified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ in Russia. In flip, the previous captain of the Qatar nationwide staff is trying forward to the Arab Cup as a platform to showcase a few of the area’s expertise to the remainder of the world.
“I’m certain that Arab teams will have their say at the World Cup. In the past, one could see the anxiety that Arab teams felt when facing football giants like Argentina and Brazil. More recently, this has changed. Teams from the region are now playing with much more confidence. This is as a result of many Arab players plying their craft in top European leagues,” stated Mustafa.
“The Arab Cup, therefore will be a celebration of this new, exciting style of play, and will give the world an idea of what teams from the region are capable of achieving on the world stage,” he added.