Says ‘Football spectacle may return before the games’ Covid-19 pandemic has denied the world the spectacle usually associated with sports events. And since 2020 great football matches have been played and are still being played in empty stadiums to avoid spread of the diseases. Covid-19 has changed the world. However, Africa’s soccer icon and Qatar 2022 World Cup ambassador, Samuel Eto’o is hopeful that some normalcy may result from the current global efforts fighting the pandemic and that the world will be treated to the usual spectacle that the World Cup is in 2022.
‘It’s 600 days to the World Cup. That’s a lot of time for things to get better and possibly get 100 percent of the usual spectacle we all experience from the fans’, Eto’o said in a virtual media chat with African journalists Tuesday. Eto’o has been living in Qatar for three years now. He is a witness to the transformation the country has gone through in readiness for the World Cup in 2022. ‘If you consider the efforts everybody is making including the World Health Organisation, WHO, it’s possible the spectacle may return at the World Cup. However, if the pandemic continues I’m sure that Qatar will take the right decisions that will be good for football,’ he said while assuring that the Middle East country is ready to host the best World Cup ever. On the facilities he said that all the stadiums will be ready this year, noting that some are ready now and hosting matches. ‘Each time I visit any of the venues and see the magnificent structures I feel like a baby given a new toy. The sights are amazing to behold and I wish I were 10 years younger so that I could play there at the World Cup. Some of them are already hosting matches. The rest will be ready before the end of this year.’
No African country has gotten close to winning the World Cup. Cameroun, Senegal and Ghana only reached the quarter finals. Will Qatar offer African countries better opportunities to excel? The last time Eto’o was asked a similar question he said Africa had the talents to do better than they have done at the World Cup but regretted that administration of the game in the continent has always frustrated the teams. His position has not changed but he hopes that African teams have what it takes to make their continent proud in Qatar. ‘Football is like a religion in Africa. The fans support their teams and they will bank on them to make them proud.’ On the organisation and preparedness of Qatar, Eto’o challenged African countries to emulate Qatar and be inspired by their vision. ‘Qatar is a small country in the Middle East but they are a country with visionary leaders who have made them what they are today. I hope that Africa will draw inspiration from them. The World Cup is not only about the games, there are so many benefits that come with it.’ Eto’o feels that the package Qatar is offering to the world in 2022 is so amazing that he describes it as ‘a gift to the world.’