Friday, December 2, 2022

Road To Qatar: Five significant events as World Cup kicks off

To herald the mundial, Peoples Gazette takes a cursory review on five momentous events that will take place at the global tournament.

• November 20, 2022
Qatar World Cup
Qatar World Cup

It’s barely two hours before the first whistle is blown at the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup holding in the Persian gulf of Qatar. The opening match between the host nation and South American country Ecuador will be held at the 60,000 capacity Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.

To herald the mundial, Peoples Gazette takes a cursory review on five momentous events that will take place at the global tournament.

First in Arab world

By the first kick of the ball later today, the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar would be the first to be held in the Middle East since the inception of the tournament almost a century ago.

It would also be the second World Cup held in Asia. The first was the 17th edition of the competition jointly hosted by South Korea and Japan in 2002.

Female match officials

For the first time in the 92 years’ history of the competition, a female referee would be appointed for a men’s World Cup game.

Three female referees including Stéphanie Frappart from France, Rwandan Salima Mukansanga representing Africa and Yoshimi Yamashita from Japan would all be called to action.

Three assistant female referees will also be officiating matches in Qatar. Kathryn Nesbitt, Karen Díaz and Neuza Back are all in the list.

Winter FIFA World Cup edition 

The Qatar World Cup would be the first edition of the tournament not held in May, June, or July and to take place in the northern winter – moving away from the traditional schedule due to the weather condition in the Arabian country.

This edition also falls in between the club football season, a sharp shift from the previous end of the season edition. It has disrupted the football calendar across the world, especially in Europe. 

Indigenous coaches leading African teams

All African countries at the Qatar World Cup would have indigenous coaches leading them to the biggest football showpiece in the world for the first time in the history of the tournament.

African countries have been well known for deploying the expertise of foreign coaches to guide them to the biggest football stage in the world but the tides have changed in this year’s edition.

Cameroon would be led by one of the country’s football legends, Rigobert Song. Familiar face Aliou Cisse is in charge of Senegal national team.

Ghana national team is headed by one of their own, Otto Addo, who is also a talent coach at Bundesliga outfit, Borussia Dortmund, Walid Regragui will be on the touchline for Morocco and Jalel Kadri in charge of the Tunisia national team.

End of era, the beginning of a new dawn

The Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup would be the last edition to feature 32 participating countries, bringing an end to the expansion that was first introduced in the 1998 edition of the competition in France.

Starting from the next edition billed to hold in Canada, USA and Mexico in  2026, the number of participating nations would be increased from 32 to 48 teams from six confederations.

The next edition will also be the first hosted by three nations.

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