NYT: Qatar Has a World Cup Date. It Still Needs a World-Class Team

Qatar NYT

Young fans of Qatar team Al Gharafa wait for the players to come out after their game in Doha. ©Olya Morvan

Much has been written about Qatar’s 2022 World Cup. A lot of it doesn’t reflect very well on Qatar or, indeed, FIFA. Worker rights, alleged corruption and the unequal use of resources have so far dominated the conversation. But what about the actual football team?

Qatar has never qualified for a World Cup before. 2022 will be its first. The country has vast resources and has invested heavily in the Aspire academy to raise a team that can compete in 2022.

I went to Doha for the New York Times to find out about Qatari football culture, something that hasn’t been written about much. I spoke to Xavi Hernandez who is playing his last season, in Qatar. You can read my New York Times story here. 

I also put together a radio story for the BBC World Service’s World Football show, which you can hear here. 

Finally, one of the most interesting characters I met was Bora Milutinovic, who has been to five World Cup finals with five different teams. You can read a longer interview with him, published by Tifo, here.

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