Five volunteers from Pakistan got to witness the launching of the Al-Wakrah Stadium which will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup fixtures in Qatar.
The indoor stadium has a seating capacity of 40,000 and is air-conditioned. It also has large screens at both ends of the football pitch.
The Government of Qatar and Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy organized the stadium launch and cultural experience.
Around 1,500 people from across Pakistan had applied to volunteer at the event but only five people — two from Lahore, two from Karachi and one from Islamabad — were selected. They worked in four departments — Spectator Services, Media Relations, Fanzone Activation and Transportation Organization.
Sayed Ali Zakir Naqvi, the head of the Qatar Volunteers, said that it was a proud moment for the Pakistani community and Pakistanis based in Doha and Pakistan itself. He added, “It should have been covered by the media because all the volunteers were from Arab countries and Pakistan was the only country which came from South Asia.”
Moreover, 130 individuals from different countries, such as Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Oman, Kuwait, Turkey and Sudan, were also part of the cultural experience.
The final of the Qatar Emir Cup was also played at the stadium between Al-Sadd and Al Duhail. The latter won the game 4-1. There were 38,652 spectators at the match, including Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and FIFA officials. Legendary footballers Cafu, Xavi, Ruud Gullit, Samuel Eto’o, Roberto Carlos, Ronald de Boer and Tim Cahill also watched the match.
Sinan Charania, a volunteer from Karachi, praised the hospitality in Qatar. “The entire visit and experience was truly amazing right from the start when they interviewed us a month back. When we arrived at the airport, the people were waiting to welcome us with smiles on their faces. The whole process went extremely smoothly.”
He also spoke about the cultural night arranged for volunteers. “We got to meet people from different cultures and it was an amazing experience to interact with all of the regional volunteers. We became close friends and some even talked about visiting Pakistan in the future.”
Charania even got the chance to tell Belgian footballer Edmilson Jnr about how people in Pakistan are happy that Qatar became the first Arab country to get the hosting rights for the FIFA World Cup.
The cultural experience included visits to the Katara Village, Souq Waqif and different hotels in Doha.