Al-Habsi: Tunisia, Morocco will receive great support in Qatar

Al-Habsi: Tunisia, Morocco will receive great support in Qatar
Former goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi presents the FIFA Arab Cup throphy prior to the FIFA Arab Cup final match between Tunisia and Algeria at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, 18 December 2021. EPA/Noushad Thekkayil

by Graeme Jackson

Saturday Sep 10, 2022. 11:00

Former Oman national team goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi has revealed that African teams Tunisia and Morocco will receive great support when they participate in the 2022 World Cup.

The tournament, set to be staged in November and December, will be held in Qatar and be the first staged in the Arab world – which includes Tunisia and Morocco.

Al-Habsi, who notably played in the Premier League for Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic, was an ambassador for the 2021 Arab Cup in Qatar, which served as a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the World Cup proper.

“Everything was great at that event. I was there from beginning to end. Qatar showed how ready they are for a big competition. The Arab Cup was a great tournament held in amazing stadiums – a huge event with a large number of fans attending. Even though things were tough [with the pandemic], Qatar did a fantastic job,” he told FIFA’s official website.

“Before the Arab Cup, Covid-19 had prevented fans from traveling, but Qatar excelled in organising that tournament. Moreover, they learned a lot, because that’s what happens when you stage a big event.”

“As a fan, the Arab Cup reassured me even more about Qatar’s ability to deliver a fantastic World Cup. The tournament was a test for Qatar, and they succeeded with flying colors. It was an amazing tournament that featured great teams, including Qatar, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt. I enjoyed it a lot.”

Al-Habsi went on to add that all of the teams at the 2022 World Cup from the Arab region will receive significant support: “Qatar as hosts will enjoy massive support and Saudi Arabia, being very close to Qatar, will have an enormous advantage as well.

It will be a great occasion for the rest of the teams. Morocco, Tunisia and all the Arab teams participating in the World Cup will receive considerable support.

“Because of the Arab players, I will be among the fans. Morocco has some stars who have the necessary experience thanks to playing in Europe. They know what a major tournament is and are looking forward to it.

As I said, when Qatar was awarded the right to host the World Cup, I knew it was not only for Qatar but for all of us in the Arab region, and this is what we have long dreamed of. We cannot wait and are very excited.

“As a player, I dreamed of playing in the World Cup. I participated in huge tournaments, the English Premier League and the UEFA Europa League, alongside many stars, but believe me, being in the World Cup is special. I’m proud to be a part of this World Cup.”

Tunisia will battle Denmark, Australia and France in Group D at the tournament, while Morocco are in Group F alongside Belgium, Canada and Croatia.

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