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Lusail Super Cup to test Qatar’s World Cup readiness

BY: Maurice Quansah
World Cup organisers expect a high turnout at the signature stadium for the Lusail Super Cup match
World Cup organisers expect a high turnout at the signature stadium for the Lusail Super Cup match

Football fans in Qatar will begin to have the feel of the 2022 FIFA World Cup final as the iconic Lusail Stadium is officially opened on Friday evening to host the Lusail Super Cup match between Saudi Professional League winners Al Hilal SFC and Zamalek SC, Egyptian Premier League champions.

For FIFA World Cup organisers and Qatar’s Supreme Council for Delivery and Legacy, it is more than just another international match, but also the official opening of the stadium and also serves as a dress rehearsal for the final match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The state-of-the-art facility will host eight matches, but for FIFA and Qatari officials, the Lusail Super Cup will help assess their readiness for football's biggest clash on December 18.

It was completed in late 2021, and on August 21 opened its gates to 20,000 fans to watch Al Arabi’s 2-1 victory against Al Rayyan, in a Qatar Stars League fixture, as a test event for the facility.

Nasser Al Khater, CEO of the World Cup

The CEO of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Nasser Al Khater (middle), is confident the tournament will be memorable

On Thursday, World Cup chiefs briefed the international media at the Lusail Stadium about the readiness of the facility to host the Lusail Super Cup -– the last practical test of readiness of the stadium for the World Cup as well as state the country’s level of preparedness to host the world for the November 20 – December 18 tournament.

The CEO of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Nasser Al Khater, said they were comfortable opening the last stadium 70 days ahead of kick-off to the global tournament.

“The infrastructure is complete, and we’re working on the aesthetics to ensure the World Cup will be exceptional for fans to get great experiences.

He said he was expecting a high turnout due to the demand for tickets which will enable the organisers to test the transport system put in place to ensure a hassle-free movement of fans, teams and officials.

“We want to use the Lusian Super Cup to learn and get ready for the World Cup, so we will be counting on feedback from everyone to make their experiences better,” he assured.

Col Jassim Abdulrahim Al Sayed, head of the Safety and Security Operations Committee, gave and assurance that the organisers had worked effectively with other partners, including Consulates of participating countries, as well as put in place measures to make the competition one of the safest World Cups ever organised.

Lusail Stadium dome

The signature Lusail Stadium will host the World Cup final on December 18

All World Cup regulations will be in force for today’s Lusail Super Cup, including the use of the Hayya card or its online portal for acquisition of match tickets and to facilitate entry into the stadium and use of the city’s metro system for transportation to and from the stadium.

Qatar’s biggest stadium, with a sitting capacity of 80,000, is a sleek and bold design with a golden look on the outside and given the skyline of Lusail, 40km from the Qatari capital of Doha, another iconic edifice of attraction. Its design, by British firm, Foster + Partners, and Populous, reflects the handcrafted bowls found all across the Arab and Islamic world during the rise of civilization.

Beginning November 22 when it hosts a Group C match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia, the stadium will stage 120 matches in total –- six group matches, Round of 16, quarter-final, semi-final and the grand final on December 18 -- as Qatar’s 'Future City’ positions itself to become world football’s capital and also secure its place in sporting history.

Graphic Sports editor

The Editor of Graphic Sports, Maurice Quansah, is covering the Lusail Super Cup and the 2022 FIFA World Cup