By Faisal Khalid, Ambassadors Programme Officer, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will be the biggest sporting event to be held in the Middle East and the Arab world. It is a major opportunity for our country and region to showcase our culture and friendly hospitality to the world.
We also believe the power of football can create positive social change in Qatar, across the region and around the globe, whether it is sharing Qatar’s vision for the FIFA World Cup or highlighting our legacy programmes.
To help communicate that vision, we have selected 15 famous figures to be part of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy’s (SC) Qatar Legacy Ambassadors Programme.
These ambassadors are not only recognised for their achievements, but have a natural ability to inform and engage football fans and communities worldwide about Qatar 2022. They also work with the SC’s various legacy programmes, including Generation Amazing, the Josoor Institute and Challenge 22, to communicate the important work these projects are delivering in the lead-up to Qatar 2022 and beyond.
During 2019, our ambassadors were involved in more than 300 activations, while in 2020 – despite the COVID-19 pandemic – they still managed to take part in more than 75 events and digital activations.
Some of the most famous faces from the world of football serve as our global ambassadors. This started in March 2018 when FIFA World Cup winner and former Barcelona player Xavi Hernandez was the first to join our programme. The former Spain international – who is the current head coach of Qatar Stars League side Al Sadd – has represented the SC regionally and internationally in his role, particularly to support Generation Amazing.
In April 2019, former Cameroon international and four-time African Player of the Year, Samuel Eto’o, joined and has since worked on a number of legacy projects in Qatar, including Generation Amazing and Workers’ Welfare. It was also in April 2019, in the presence of Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, that Eto’o visited a school for refugee children in Malaysia to witness the work of the Education Above All Foundation.
Later in 2019, former Brazil captain Cafu came on board. With education through sport being a subject close to his heart, the two-time FIFA World Cup winner has worked closely with the Josoor Institute, a centre of excellence for the sports and events industries in the Middle East. He has also made important contributions to Generation Amazing and the SC’s community engagement initiatives.
Former Australia international Tim Cahill has also made a positive contribution since joining us in February 2020 through his work with Generation Amazing and the Josoor Institute, while we are excited to have Ronald de Boer on board after the Dutch football legend was unveiled as a global ambassador in June. Last month, de Boer assisted the SC’s Fan Engagement team in the launch of the Qatar Fan Leader Network.
Equally as important are our local and regional ambassadors, who are also helping us to tell the story of Qatar 2022. Over the last few years, we have developed a special relationship with well-known faces from Qatar and the region, including football stars Ibrahim Khalfan, Ahmad Khalil, Adel Khamis, Mubarak Mostafa and Khalid Salman. Their contributions to multiple Generation Amazing activations with local children has been greatly appreciated in the community.
Former professional tennis player Mohammed Saadon Al Kuwari has also been an enthusiastic advocate in promoting this huge event, especially in Qatar's communities through the SC's community engagement initiatives. As a widely recognised television presenter on beIN SPORTS, his digital reach throughout the region is extensive.
With our regional outreach, we are fortunate to have Egyptian football legends Mohamed Aboutrika and Wael Gomaa represent us in Africa, while former Oman goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi and former Iraq captain and AFC Asian Cup winner Younis Mahmood continue to make a positive impact on our behalf throughout the region.
With more special moments to come on the road to 2022, we look forward to our ongoing collaboration with our ambassadors and their contributions to the many events and milestones we have to celebrate in the months ahead.