- Qatar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Kenya has the largest population of workers in the country followed by Nigeria in Africa
- The country will be using an innovative cooling technique in all stadiums to regulate temperatures to up to 18 degrees
Kenya may have a slim chance at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar but the country’s craftsmen and women are playing a vital role ahead of the world’s biggest soccer extravaganza.
Last week, when the Star visited three of eight stadiums that will be hosting the tournament, it found Peter Kibaji, a 27-year-old from Vihiga County preparing to start putting final touches on the Al Janoub Stadium which is located only 15 kilometres away from Doha Central Business District (CBD).
He is among 12 other Kenyans painting the 40,000 people capacity circular stadium. His job starts a few minutes after 5 pm when the heat has subsided.
"I first came here in 2012 to work on one of the biggest skyscrapers in the town centre. I returned four months ago to work on this project,’’ Kabaji said.
Although he may not afford a ticket to watch as the world's finest soccer teams scramble for the global title in the next 38 months, he is extremely happy to be associated by the stadium.
"Search for money may have brought me to Qatar but it gives me great pleasure to work on one of the iconic structure that will be hosting World Cup in next three years,’’ he said.
At the Khalifa International Stadium, Simon Katheka has just arrived for his daily duty. It is his responsibility to ensure that trees and flower gardens at the now completed 40,000-seater stadium are well kept.
Just like Kabaji, the 38-year-old father of three from Makueni County is happy to be associated with one of the World Cup stadiums.
"How I wish football standards back home could improve so that Harambee Stars can be one of the African countries to qualify for the next tournament. I don’t know if 2022 will find me here. Even though, I will have left a Kenyan mark here,"’ Katheka said.
Qatar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Kenya has the largest population of workers in the country followed by Nigeria in Africa. Kenya’s Harambee Stars were not included in the Fifa World Cup qualifier draw announced in July because they are among top-ranked countries based on the July’s edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.
Stars will feature in the second qualifying round after 14 teams have been selected from the first round.
The first round will feature 28 lowest-ranked teams. The teams were paired to play home and away in a draw. Winners after the home and away matches will join the 26 top-ranked teams in which Kenya is among them.
Kenya’s closest attempt to qualify for the global soccer festivity held every after four years, was in 1998 when they were knocked out at the eleventh hour by Nigeria’s Super Eagles.
Qatar will be the inaugural country in the Middle East to host World Cup and second in Asia after South Korean and Japan co-hosted the 2002 event.
H.E. Lolwah Al-Khater, official spokesperson of Qatar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the country and the region plans to use the World Cup to build connectivity with the outside world.
Top class stadiums
A member of Legacy Pavilion at the 2022 Supreme Committee in Qatar told the Star that all the remaining six stadiums would be ready by 2020 ahead of 2021 deadline set by Fifa.
Lusail Stadium, the 80,000-seater capacity located 15 kilometres from Doha CBD will host the opening match and the grand final. The circular stadium seamlessly blends traditional craftsmanship with modern design to illustrate the coming together of the old and young generations.
The steering committee expects the facility to be ready by next year ahead of the schedule.
Al Bayt is the second largest of the eight to host the 2022 tournament. The octagon-shaped 60,000-seater piece of art is located 35km away from Doha CBD, the farthest of all. It exhibits Qatari hospitality. The stadium is still under construction.
Education City Stadium is the second closest stadium to Doha CBD, located only seven kilometres away. Final touches are being done on the 40,000-seater stadium at the heart of the country’s education nerve. It is expected to be ready before the end of the year.
Ras Abu Aboud is perhaps the most unique of all. The 40,000-seater stadium is being made of cargo containers and will be dismantled immediately after the tournament.
Other 40,000-seater stadiums still under construction include Al Rayyan, which is located 20 kilometres away from Doha CBD, and Al Thumana located 12 kilometres from Doha CBD.
Stadium Cooling technique
Being a hot humid country with temperatures ranging from 38-44 degrees, Qatar will be using an innovative cooling technique in all stadiums to regulate temperatures to up to 18 degrees.
Dubbed air circular technique, the innovation by Sudanese Professor at Saud Abdul Ghani at the College of Engineering at Qatar University has already been tested at the Al Khalifa Stadium, which opened doors in 2017, and Al-Janoub, which was opened in May.
The technology uses the platform of the stadium to defend it against the infiltration of warm wind. It means the stadium is a barrier containing a cold bubble inside. The technology works by maintaining the bubble for as long as necessary.
The country has also started the construction of environmentally and sustainable cool walkways to encourage soccer fanatics to walk comfortably during the tournament.
Late last month, Fifa launched the 2022 World Cup emblem. The design embodies the vision of an event that connects and engages the entire world, while also featuring striking elements of local and regional Arab culture and allusions to the beautiful game.
The swooping curves of the emblem represent the undulations of desert dunes and the unbroken loop depicts both the number eight – a reminder of the eight astonishing stadiums that will host matches – and the infinity symbol, reflecting the interconnected nature of the event.
Besides echoing the shape of the iconic Fifa World Cup Trophy, the emblem’s central form takes inspiration from a traditional woollen shawl. During winter months, shawls are worn around the world and in the Arab and Gulf region in particular by a variety of people and in various styles.