Football legends back Qatar’s World Cup bid

DUBAI — Qatar 2022 last night unveiled five new ambassadors that have pledged their support for the bid, all legends in Gulf football, a press release said.

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Published: Sat 1 May 2010, 11:31 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:22 AM

Mansour Muftah (Qatar), Majid Abdullah (Saudi Arabia), Adnan Al Talyani (United Arab Emirates), Abdulaziz Al Anberi (Kuwait) and Nasser Hamdan Al Riyami (Oman), spoke of their support for Qatar’s attempt to bring the World Cup to the Middle East for the first time.

The newly launched ambassadors spoke at a round table press conference with CEO of the Qatar 2022 bid Hassan Al Thawadi and Qatar Football Association Marketing Manager, Khalid Al Kuwari.

The press conference was held at the Royal Mirage in Dubai and was a strong display of regional support for Qatar’s ambitious bid to host the World Cup in 2022.

Qatar 2022 CEO, Hassan Al Thawadi, said: “We are delighted that these legendary players, who have brought so many thrills to fans throughout the Gulf over the years, have thrown their support behind the bid. This shows the enthusiasm within the local communities of our neighbouring countries for Qatar to bring the World Cup to the Middle East for the first time in 2022. A World Cup held in Qatar will leave a shared and lasting legacy for the entire Gulf region.”

Mansour Muftah is one of Qatar’s footballing legends, having scored the most goals in the Qatari league with Al Rayyan club for four seasons in the early 1980s. Also lending his support to the bid is Saudi Arabian superstar Majid Abdullah, known during his glittering career as the ‘Arabian Pele.’ Abdullah scored 67 goals in 139 appearances for the national team and was voted the greatest player in the history of football in Saudi Arabia.

Adnan Al Talyani was a member of the UAE squad that qualified for the World Cup in 1990, held in Italy. Sharjah-born Al Talyani was recently voted UAE’s ‘player of the century.’

Kuwaiti hero Abdelaziz Al Anberi played starring roles in Kuwait’s classic team of the early 1980s, which lifted the Asian Cup in 1980 and qualified for the World Cup held in Spain in 1982 in addition to triumphing in the Gulf Cup in Abu Dhabi in the same year.

Nasser Hamdan Al Riyami from Oman is one of the youngest players ever to have worn the shirt of his national team, having made his debut at the age of 14 in 1979. Al Riyami, despite being the youngest member of the national team, scored on his Gulf Cup debut for Oman in 1982.

Bahraini fans expecting an ambassador for the Qatari bid for their country need not despair, as Qatar 2022 anticipates an important announcement involving Bahrain in the near future.

Qatar aims to bring the World Cup to the Middle East for the first time in the history of the tournament. FIFA’s Executive Committee will vote on the locations of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup Finals on December 2, 2010, in Zurich, Switzerland.

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