‘Future generations should know that anything is possible’
Ambassador Programme Manager Faisal Khalid discusses his FIFA World Cup™ journey with the SC
With only weeks to go until Qatar hosts the first FIFA World Cup™ in the Middle East and Arab world, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), in close collaboration with FIFA, is wrapping up preparations for the tournament and the legacy it will deliver.
In this new series, Making History, we are focusing on the work of Qatari employees who have played a key role in the SC’s journey.
This week, we speak to Faisal Khalid, Ambassador Programme Manager. Faisal, from Al Rayyan, joined the SC in October 2019 after studying abroad and obtaining a degree in accounting.
What do you remember about the day Qatar won the bid to host the FIFA World Cup™?
I think every Qatari who witnessed Qatar winning the bid will cherish this memory forever. I remember I was away on a trip with friends and we were watching the TV in a coffee shop. The crowd suddenly cheered and we celebrated on the streets. There are no words to describe my feelings on that day. I felt a combination of pride and excitement. I can’t believe we are now in 2022. It feels like we just won the bid yesterday.
Did you ever dream you would get the chance to work on this mega-event?
I never once thought I would be a part of the team to deliver this mega-event. Thank God I was approached with the opportunity and I believed in it and took it. I am honoured to be a part of this project.
Tell us about your role at the SC and how you’re helping to deliver the tournament.
I work as part of the Ambassadors Programme. This encompasses both the Qatar Legacy Ambassadors Programme and the FIFA Ambassadors Programme. I am the focal point for all local and regional ambassadors, including former Qatar national team players and others from the region, like Ali Al Habsi.
A typical day involves coordinating and communicating with FIFA legends and ambassadors. We work with internal teams such as Generation Amazing and Fan Engagement, who sometimes request ambassadors for specific activations. The Ambassadors Programme is responsible for ensuring a seamless collaboration with ambassadors, and thinking of creative ways to best showcase them for the benefit of Qatar and the tournament.
As we all know, this is the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world, so it’s crucial to promote it in the best and most effective way possible through our numerous ambassadors. We have a variety of local and international ambassadors and FIFA legends that showcase the tournament and everything Qatar will offer.
What are some accomplishments you are proud of?
Since I joined the SC, I have been lucky enough to take part in many tournaments, like the FIFA Club World Cup, Arabian Gulf Cup and FIFA Arab Cup. Every milestone makes me proud. It feels great to be part of such an amazing team.
How would you describe the team dynamic at the SC?
When it comes to the team, we are diverse in every aspect. We have experts from all over the world, from different cultures and backgrounds. Every day, you are bound to meet, cross paths and work with someone new. It’s one of the best parts about working here.
What are some challenges you encounter?
Working around the clock is a daily challenge we face here at the SC. Dealing with ambassadors and working around their time zones and schedules is a challenge. For example, our Brazilian ambassadors, like Cafu, have completely different working hours to us.
What does it mean to you to be a part of the SC?
Being a part of this tournament means being a part of the country’s history. I will forever be proud of my role at the SC and contributing to the success of the World Cup. I don’t think our generation will witness a similar mega-event in our lifetime, so it fills me with pride.
Did you form any personal relationships with the ambassadors?
Growing up, I have always loved video games and I would always play FIFA and choose the FIFA legends as players. I always looked up to them. So when the opportunity came to work in the programme, it was a dream come true. I now communicate with these legends, like Cafu, Samuel Eto’o and Ronald de Boer, on a daily basis, and we have formed great friendships over the years.
What kind of legacy do you want the World Cup to leave behind?
I want future generations to benefit from this tournament. They should know that anything is possible – dreams really do come true. I used to dream about meeting these players – and all of a sudden, they are part of my daily routine. This World Cup should inspire everyone in Qatar and across our region.