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'Four games in a day' - Arab Cup has given a glimpse of what Qatar has to offer during the 2022 World Cup, says QFA General Secretary

09:47 GMT+3 18/12/2021
Felix Sanchez - Almoez Ali - qatar - arab cup 2021
The QFA official witnessed four games in one day during the ongoing Arab Cup and believes fans are in for a spectacle at the World Cup next year...

The ongoing Arab Cup in Qatar, held for the first time under FIFA's umbrella, is also a dress rehearsal before the World Cup next year.

Not only is the Arab Cup being hosted at six of the eight venues for the 2022 World Cup, it also showcased the compact nature that will be evident during the 2022 World Cup.

With all the stadiums located within an hour's distance of each other, the World Cup will witness four matches in one day. The Arab Cup also saw the same scheduling format and the connectivity between venues ensures fans can travel seamlessly from one stadium to another.

Qatar Football Association (QFA) General Secretary Mansoor Al Ansari experienced watching four matches at once during the Arab Cup and was left thrilled with the experience.

"Never have I experienced four games in a day. I attended four games (at the Arab Cup) and the experience of moving from one stadium to another (was great). It's great to attend as many games as possible," he said.

Al Ansari also made it clear that fans will have a lot more to do in Qatar during the World Cup next year apart from watching plenty of matches.

"We believe we can welcome everyone in Qatar - fans from all backgrounds can experience our unique and hospitable culture. They can soak in art, tourism and more, experiencing (everything) that Qatar has to offer," he added.

The QFA has put in a lot of work ahead of the World Cup, not just in terms of facilitating the tournament but also in moulding a strong and competitive national team that will make its debut in the World Cup.

In fact, Qatar have, in recent years, become a continental giant. They won the Asian Cup in 2019, put in competitive performances at the 2020 Copa America as a guest team. They went on to reach the semifinals of the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup and have emerged as one of the best teams in Asia.

Al Ansari believes it has a lot to do with the foundation that the QFA has laid with its focus on grassroots and world-class training facilities.

"Our focus in not only on the national team. We have one of the best facilities in Asia - Aspire academy. We have a strong efficient ecosystem which allows football to develop.

"We were the Asian champions in the U19 and senior level. A lot of development and preparation has gone into it. We had the Copa America and Gold Cup experience now. We have given our players the exposure. When they do enter the World Cup, they will have played big matches."

QFA has also become a pillar of support for Asian Football Confederation (AFC), especially during the pandemic. Qatar hosted the 2020 Asian Champions League in testing cirumstances apart from various 2022 World Cup qualifiers which could not be held in other parts of the continent. Al Ansari reiterated QFA's support to AFC and said that it was their duty to help Asian football flourish.

"First thing is QFA is a member of AFC. We are one family. We fully believe in the statement - 'One Asia One Goal'. We are an extension of AFC and we support Asian football. We are very proud to have played a role in continuing football in Asia (during the pandemic). We needed to show the world has not come to an end. We wanted to stand together and fight any challenge.

"All governments have different challenges. Qatar also had advantages and disadvantages. We are a small nation that had difficult times. But we came together and controlled the virus. We delivered these events, thanks to the leadership in Govt entities across the board."