Qatar finally needs to exhale. It has been silent for too long. That is evident in the way they sing their national anthem, paradoxically, by a minority native on their land, compared to the nearly 80% of the foreign workforce that sustains their country, used to be a backward pearl mining center until now. they discovered natural gas and all it can do. On Sunday, in the evening chills of the desert, at the glittering, crowded Al-Bayt stadium in the town of Al Khor, literally the creek, by singing higher than the others, they just paled. affirm to the world that this belongs to them, that they made it. And that, the world is welcoming.
Outside, with systems installed outside, shuttles and scanners well-oiled and running smoothly, the glitz of VIPs and regular ticket-buyers in one brief, tireless integration It was opened by an army of mainly Indian and African volunteers, inside it was a thunderous display of sound, light and color. And the rich, reassuring baritone of Morgan Freeman told us what we already knew about the unifying power of football, but we drank as if we were hearing it for the first time. But that’s what Freeman and his voice can do.
FIFA World Cup 2022 Opening Ceremony
It’s a sweet irony. His words brought back to my mind the scene at the media buffet two days ago, when rows of cheerful African employees were serving long lines of mostly mainstream media. white people who are waiting for plates in hand for the meal of the day. The reversed symbol is as powerful as it is amusing.
To think that while the European media is continuing to point out all the bad things and actions of a country that is discriminatory, yet itself crosses the line of ordinary racism like them did, it was Freeman, who was black and who had so easily fallen for the role of Nelson Mandela on screen, that they were pausing, looking up from their laptops to listen. But then that’s what Morgan Freeman and his voice can do.
On the Al-Bayt pitch, Qatar is eager to get things started, as if before something else is ‘unmasked’ or brought to light by another world of surveillance waiting to see it fail or reveling with the focus taken away, that the World Cup had in fact begun, even before the stadium announcer could finish his stadium countdown. It’s such a relief. The eagerness showed as their national team and their squad almost immediately went off track and everywhere, allowing a good Ecuadorian team to settle in and make good use of the width of the field. For the first time, the big stage jitters? Maybe, when football takes over and acts as an equalizer.
Enner Valencia (L) of Ecuador celebrates after scoring their team’s second goal. (Beautiful pictures)
No player in history has ever scored twice in the first game of the World Cup, Enner Valencia Ecuador’s team could have had a first-half hat-trick if VAR had spotted Michael Estrada and his scorer less than half a foot away. For a moment everyone was confused why the game could not be continued after Valencia had passed his man and headed home a beautiful goal after Saad Alsheeb, the Qatar keeper, presumably caught by the situation, frantically rushed into the fray leaving the goal open and forgetting to collect the ball in the process. Then you realize that the VAR trial is in session – yes, now that the game is finally on, other issues are bound to mess things up.
The Ecuadorians were not discouraged for long. In the 13th minute, Valencia again scored for Al Sheeb with a dribble from deep. The home keeper saved him, Valencia shot from the spot almost halfway, but in reality it was a cleverly executed penalty to take the lead.
Then, just past the hour, our man got up again and went home to sort out more or less problems. That they did when the game ended 2-0, but that won’t lessen the frenzy that the locals in the stadium are feeling. That shows in the recklessness and effort of the home team to try to do something and not disappoint their support at home. Something tells us that even if football takes over and the big boys take over their stage during this winter month in the desert, this will not go away.