A changing Qatar has a lot at stake in the World Cup


Yoshimi Yamashita of Japan is one of the women referees officiating matches for the first time ever at the World Cup. — AFP

PLAYING host nation to a World Cup is a highly coveted accolade; for all and sundry who make up the citizenry, this means nation-building, infrastructure development, job creation, renewed patriotism and lasting change long after the closing ceremonies.

Qatar didn’t need the facelift, but the nation’s leaders recognised the huge stakes when they beat out Australia, South Korea, Japan and the United States to become the first Arab nation to host the games. If done right, Qatar will create an arguably priceless legacy, but if mishandled, it may become an example many Arab nations cite as to why the games are inherently difficult for their nations to host.

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