DOHA: Qatar has proven to the world that it is more than ready to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
Football legends gathered at the opening ceremony of the Al Janoub Stadium were left in awe of the venue that hosted the Amir Cup final between Al Saad and Al Duhail on Thursday. Al Duhail were crowned champions after a 4-1 win.
Ruud Gullit said Qatar are certainly on the right track.
“They made a statement to the world when they won the Asian Cup. The last World Cup in Asia was in South Korea and Japan and since then we’ve seen how football has grown in both those countries. Now it’s happening in Qatar,” said the Dutchman, who played for Holland from 1981-1994.
“They have done a great job ... it’s a beautiful stadium.
“Their footballers are also making their presence felt.
“They are developing well ahead of the World Cup.”
Spaniard Fernando Hierro said the fans will feel a different kind of atmosphere in Qatar.
“I’m sure the World Cup will be great here. The fans are really special,” said the former Real Madrid star.“Fifteen years ago, I played for Al Rayyan in the Qatar Stars League. The standards of the league and the national team have grown over the years.
“Their progress is on another level.”
Former China and Iraq coach Bora Milutinovic said Qatar heralds the rise of more Asian teams in world football.
“They are Asian Cup champions and have been performing incredibly well on the international stage,” said the Serbian.
“They are following in the footsteps of Japan, South Korea and Iran.
“The 2022 World Cup will be good for the Asian continent. I’m happy to see the giant strides taken by these nations.”
Meanwhile, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said the stadium is extraordinary.
“I was here seven months ago during the final stages of construction.
“I’m delighted to see how beautiful and functional it is, but I’m not surprised,” said Infantino.
“Qatar is working very hard to excel when it comes to every aspect of the tournament.
“Today, we have seen even more proof of their capability and commitment, and we will keep working side by side towards all other milestones that will come our way until 2022.”