Last month, Qatar handed FIFA its bid to host the 2022 World Cup. We take a look at the proposed Doha stadiums and chat to bid ambassador, Cameroon football legend, Roger Milla
Time Out Bahrain staff
How did you become Qatar’s bid ambassador? I was inspired by Qatar’s World Cup bid from the moment it was announced. Like the competition in South Africa this year, a Qatar 2022 World Cup would be the first time that the biggest tournament in the world has taken place in the Middle East. And I believe that, like Africa, it deserves this opportunity. The region is ready, and Qatar is the right place for it. Qatar has been working on a number of youth development projects in Cameroon, so when the bid committee approached me to become one of their ambassadors, I was obviously delighted. The manner of the Qatari approach was also important – the bid team knows a great deal about football, and this was decisive for me.
Why does Qatar deserve to host it? Winning the privilege of hosting the World Cup will have the same inspirational effect which the whole continent of Africa will feel this summer. I genuinely believe this great tournament can change the world. I felt it as a player, when I was fortunate enough to participate three times with my national team, and even to reach the quarter finals in 1990, and now I feel it as a bid ambassador. If the World Cup is hosted in Qatar, it will bring enormous positive change through football to millions of children in the Middle East and beyond.
What do you think of the proposed development in the bid – 12 stadiums and a new airport? Can it be done? If you look at what has already been achieved in this country in such a short time, you cannot fail to believe that Qatar will deliver on its promises. And then if you consider the list of top-level international and multi-nation sports events that Qatar has hosted and is due to host in coming years, it is extremely impressive.
Do you think the heat or humidity in summer will be a problem for players? I think that the opposite will be the case. When I played at the World Cup in the USA in 1994 at the age of 42, temperatures were also very high. We managed fine, and I even scored a goal. But now what Qatar is planning is to revolutionise stadium cooling solutions, and keep temperatures steady and regulated. I think this is a sensible solution for the future of the game; it is for everyone’s comfort and safety. More info at www.qatar2022bid.com.