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World Cup veteran says Qatar will definitely hack it

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Veteran South African football administrator Raymond Hack is excited about going to what he says will be an outstanding 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, starting this Sunday, 20 November.

This will be the eighth time that Hack, who was the director of the FIFA 2010 World Cup South Africa local organising committee, will attend the World Cup. He will be in Qatar for the opening game between the hosts and Ecuador at the 60 000-capacity Al Bayt Stadium on 20 November, as well as the final game, held at the 80 000-capacity Lusail Stadium on 18 December.

Hack, a seasoned Qatar tourist, marvels at the infrastructure, including the seven new stadiums the Middle Eastern country has built for the World Cup. “From an administrative and everything excluding football point of view, the tournament will be absolutely brilliant, from the facilities to the infrastructure, roads, telecommunication, hotels, and the new stadiums, which are absolutely magnificent,” he says.

Qatar has built a new airport, metro system, series of roads, and about 100 new hotels ahead of the World Cup, while an entire city has been constructed around the Lusail Stadium.

A number of people, such as former FIFA President Sepp Blatter and the 2014 World Cup-winning captain, Philipp Lahm, believe it was a mistake to bring the World Cup to Qatar.

“We’ll wait and see what comes out of this, and then we can judge,” says Hack, who received the 2009 South African Football Association Presidential Award for contribution to sport. “I’ve never seen the country through the eyes of a resident, but certainly from a tourist point of view, they make you feel very welcome.”

And, with temperatures expected to range from 20°C to 30°C in Qatar during the tournament, all the country’s stadiums have a cooling system.

Hack says it’s not easy to pick a favourite for this year’s World Cup. “You’ve got the likes of Brazil, Argentina, Spain, and France. What you had in 2010, 2014, and 2018 has now gone, and you’ve got a new generation of players, so it’s going to be interesting.”

He hopes for good performances from the African teams – Cameroon, Senegal, Ghana, Morocco, and Tunisia. “It will be tough, but we’re good enough to get through the group stages.”

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Robert Mancusso

    Nov 20, 2022 at 12:49 pm

    Is FIFA going to choose Iran as the next country to host the World Cup?🤦🏻‍♂️

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