First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford expressed his great pleasure for the presence of his country's national team in Doha to participate in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, after an absence of 64 years from the tournament, additionally being the first held in the Middle East.

In exclusive statements to Qatar News Agency (QNA) on Sunday, on the sidelines of his inauguration of the giant bucket hat monument, which the Welsh community is famous for wearing, in the Museum of Islamic Art Park, Drakeford said that his country and Qatar's national team's (teams of small countries) participation in these big tournaments represents a dream. The small countries will challenge this dream to move past the group stage and beyond.

Drakeford added that the great thing about football is that no one can predict the results of the matches. Each match has its own circumstances and therefore any team can beat its stronger counterpart if it is lucky. Mark Drakeford expressed his hope that the players of the Qatari and Welsh national teams will enjoy every moment of their matches and do everything in their power to have high hopes and aspirations until it turns into reality.

Regarding the hat monument, the First Minister of Wales explained that the bucket hat is a symbol and an official uniform of Welsh fans, especially as it is composed in the colours of the country's flag. For Qatari officials to inaugurate this special monument, which is the first monument for the hat outside Wales, will be a catalyst for people from different countries to read and learn more about this symbol and the Welsh culture and society.

Mark Drakeford stated that he will hold several meetings with Qatari officials to enhance cooperation between the two friendly countries, not only in the field of sports but also in the economic, trade, and investment fields, in addition to strengthening cooperation between the National Museum of Wales and Qatar's Ministry of Culture, inviting some young people and officials of Qatar Museums to visit Wales next year, as well as to try to explore areas of interest for both countries to move forward.

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