By Amjad Vanimal/Doha
Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press launched its latest book Journeys on a Football Carpet, written by Doha-born novelist and sports journalist Matthias Krug. The launch took place during an open forum at Qatar National Library’s Special Events Area on Thursday and was attended by a large number of sports fans, book enthusiasts, and members of the media.
When Qatar won its bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, it was the ultimate sporting miracle for a young and ambitious nation. But the critics were quick to judge, saying that Qatar, with no football history of its own, didn’t deserve the chance to host the biggest football tournament in the world. In Journeys on a Football Carpet, Krug sets out to debunk that myth by sharing the fascinating inside story of the country’s football evolution over the past six decades.
Weaving in his family’s personal journey spanning two generations in Qatar, the book shares the untold story of Qatar’s surprising, challenge-filled and inspirational journey.
“Being born and raised in Qatar in a family obsessed with sports allowed me to see first-hand how rapidly the nation’s athletic and football landscape has developed over the years,” author Krug said.
“Whenever I travelled around the world over the years, I was surprised that people knew very little about Qatar’s fascinating and ever-developing sports history. I was inspired to write this book, not only to relate some of my family’s very personal experiences, but to document the experiences of a nation and the inspiring people who helped to shape those journeys on the sporting fields.”
The open forum was attended by a panel of sports experts, including the author himself, Qatari football legend and Al Kass TV sports analyst Badr Bilal, Qatar’s first professional boxer Sheikh Fahad bin Khalid al-Thani, currently undefeated in his sport, and Mariam Farid, Qatari female athlete and IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 ambassador.
Also present was Krug’s father, Joachim, one of the first foreign athletic coaches to arrive in Qatar in 1982 and currently a coaching staff member for the Qatar national athletics team.
The forum started with the opening remarks of German ambassador to Qatar Hans-Udo Muzel, and went on to discuss the book and the panellists’ personal experiences that explored Qatar’s sports history and challenged the status quo.
“Sports bring cultures together. This is what we are trying to do tonight (at the forum). This is one of the very special points Matthias Krug tries to make in his book,” the German envoy said while delivering his opening speech.
Speaking about the importance of publishing a book on Qatar’s football evolution, Bachar Chebaro, Executive Director of HBKU Press, said, “This book is a documentation of Qatar’s history. At HBKU Press, we are committed to publishing books that provide the global community with insight on Qatar and highlight the nation’s success.”
Headquartered in Doha, HBKU Press publishes a wide range of texts including fiction and non-fiction titles, children’s books, collections, and annual reports. In addition, it publishes peer-reviewed, scholarly research in the natural and social sciences through academic books, open-access reference materials and conference proceedings.
Journeys on a Football Carpet is available in the HBKU Press Bookstore (located in the College of Islamic Studies building in Education City), in bookstores across Qatar, and on Amazon Kindle as an eBook.
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