Two top officials of the US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC), currently in Qatar for the recent 5th Qatar-US Strategic Dialogue and the FIFA World Cup, have lauded Qatar's achievement in hosting the mega event.
USQBC president Scott Taylor and USQBC managing director and treasurer of the board Mohamed Barakat shared their views with Gulf Times and their aspirations for the US team.
Taylor: “I am here as a fan; I brought my family to Doha to see the World Cup. I think having the World Cup here is massive for the region, as well as the world. It’s a World Cup for a reason – to highlight different cultures and different places around the world.
“In this country you’re able to go to multiple games because the stadiums are so close. The next World Cup is going to be in North America: Mexico, Canada, and the US. You’ll have to fly between stadiums. Here, you can drive; it’s crazy!
“But I think having the World Cup in Qatar has been so massive for the spotlight on this country. It’s well-run; they’re executing it really well. It’s safe and family-oriented. The fans, including myself and my family, are excited to be here. We had a great time.
“I think there have been some unfair criticisms quite frankly in international media but I guarantee you that all the folks and the fans that have come here would be ambassadors for this country moving forward because they’ve had a great time.”
Barakat said: "What a wonderful experience! Coming from the airport and going to the hotel, we’re seeing all these fan zones and a lot of people partying, celebrating, and enjoying each other’s company. People wearing jerseys from different teams are all together having a good time.
"In the souq, you can also see fans engaging and hearing so many languages. In the stadiums, people are cheering and engaging each other. I think the close proximity of these engagements and being around each other created this energetic atmosphere to enjoy the World Cup. And hopefully, fans will continue to enjoy the tournament till the end. As Americans, we are very excited for the US team and we’re looking forward that the team would advance. Maybe we’ll stay longer to watch them play.
"The fans who arrived here and others who will still be arriving will see how much Qatar has done to deliver a World Cup that will be a lasting legacy for the future. And I think the World Cup will deliver a great message about what Qatar has done, which is something that the US, Canada, and Mexico can learn from and engage with Qatar when we host the World Cup."