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Pulsating Arabian Gulf Cup providing a preview to the big show in 2022
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Pulsating Arabian Gulf Cup providing a preview to the big show in 2022

Vinay Nayudu
The Qatar national football team marked the day of the 9th anniversary of the nation winning the bid to host FIFA World Cup 2022 in December 2010 in awesome fashion producing their best performance of the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup thus far.
But while Al Annabi rose to the occasion in splendid style, Qatar as a nation with its unmatched football passion and pride has marched a long way since the momentous day of December 2, 2010 in Zurich when they were announced as World Cup hosts.
Those who made their way to the spectacular Khalifa International Stadium – one of the two venues along with Al Janoub Stadium to be ready of the total eight for 2022 -- for the thrilling Qatar vs UAE Gulf Cup group stage match on Monday can tell you what an experience it is being now in this sporting nation to travel and to be at the stadiums – not that there has been any lack of passion ever before.
But in past nine years Qatar’s quest for excellence in sports – both off and the field and on it – has reached new and dazzling heights.
The atmosphere and bonhomie of fans was palpable as one shuttle after other of the world class driverless Doha Metro trains ferried thousands to the stadium. From the shuttle buses to the speeding trains and at the stadium, the volunteers kept guiding fans and in such friendly and caring manner that you would only smile and soak in their courtesy.
Frank, from Holland, chose to take the metro for his football cazy son and family of four. “Oh! Its amazing,” he said when asked about the big rush. “It’s all so comfortable. And this train takes you right to the doorstep of the stadium. You can’t get better than this anywhere in the world,” he added.
Half way through the match, a gentleman arrived with his two teenaged sons from Africa. “Could you please tell me, how can we rush in? We have these tickets,” he asked standing near the Torch Hotel. ‘Go in straight, there’s the gate to your right’, he was told. “Wow!,” he exclaimed, even as one of his kids pulled him saying “Come on Papa!”
If making it to the venue is a breeze, being inside is bliss. Spacious arena, comfortable seats, lots at the cafeterias and exciting live action on absolute green baize. Add to this, the loud and delightful sound of the drums being played by the locals which is enhanced by matching claps of the large crowd. You can already feel as to how can one be more lucky enough to be at one such occasion in 2022!
Ahead of that though are the Gulf Cup semi-finals and the final this week. Next up is the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019 --- which will also be serving as World Cup 2022 testing events the next year too.
While Qatar continues to provide the world with the very best and promises to deliver that it may dream of, football keeps all riveted in this part of the globe.
The world can hardly wait too!

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