Much has been made of Qatar’s winning of the 2022 World Cup bid, and the problem that have arisen since. The problems with the idea of holding a sporting competition in a place where temperatures regularly top 100 degrees Fahrenheit, is obvious to everyone along with the massive undertaking of building the stadiums required in time. Not to mention the concerns about the laborers who will actually be doing the work.
But the latest absurdity to befall the Qatar bid has to be the rise of its utterly artificial soccer team. Recently, the Qatari team lost in the quarterfinals of the Asian Cup 3-2 to Japan. They went 2-0 up at one stage of the game, but the Japanese, who were clearly the better side, fought back for a victory with only 10 men. The problem with this team, is its best players are imported from other countries. Now many countries import players, Portugal grabbing from Brazil being the biggest example. However, Brazilian citizens are legitimately entitled to a Portuguese passport due to the colonial legacy involved. There is absolutely no connection between Qatar and Brazilian-born Fabio Cesar Montezine, who scored one of Qatar’s goals, had never set foot in the desert nation until his nationality was changed. The second goal scorer, Sebastian Soria, now holds a different passport to that of his countryman Diego Forlan, but make no mistake, he is a Uruguayan in Qatari colors. While Qatar maybe able to game the international soccer standards this way, it still doesn’t mean they have a soccer culture or nation.
The most absurd thing in the whole spectacle of the match was the shameless political grandstanding of the Emir of Qatar’s son. The Qatari fans carried portraits of him into the stadium, and held them aloft through the whole match, I felt like I was watching a North Korea home game. The Qatari team maybe able to play football, but they have a long way to go before they will be respected on the international stage, both as a team and a nation.
Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com
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