Socceroos legend visits the Qatar 2022 venue weeks before the big kick-off
Nadia Nadim: ‘Qatar 2022 will showcase the Arab world’s passion for football’
With just a month to go, FIFA World Cup™ Ambassador Nadia Nadim believes the tournament will unite cultures
Qatar will host a huge celebration of the beautiful game when the FIFA World Cup™ heads to the Middle East and Arab world for the first time.
Fans from across the globe will arrive in the country in a month’s time, with many experiencing the region and its welcoming culture for the first time. Footballer Nadia Nadim is full of anticipation for the tournament, which will be held in eight state-of-the-art stadiums. A tournament ambassador, the 34-year-old has enjoyed an illustrious career in the women’s game and she believes Qatar 2022 is a major opportunity for the Arab world to showcase itself to billions of fans across the globe.
“Football belongs to everyone,” said Nadim. “I’m very excited to see how the region is going to represent football, but also experience it, at the highest level. Having this big tournament, where the entire world is convening in one place for a month, where religion, culture and races meet and celebrate through football, that’s the essence of the sport. I’m excited for the world to experience the Middle East and the positives of it.”
Born in Afghanistan, Nadim was forced to leave her homeland in 2000, aged 12, after her father was murdered. Following a difficult journey, she and her family settled in Denmark as refugees. It was there her talents as a footballer were spotted, leading the forward to become the first naturalised player to represent the Scandinavian nation. Nadim has also enjoyed a stellar club career in Europe and North America, including spells at Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. Off the pitch, Nadim is a motivational speaker, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, and recently completed her medical doctorate.
“I play football because I love it. The passion and the love for the game – they’re my favourite parts of football,” said Nadim, who reached a century of appearances for Denmark this summer before playing for her adopted country at the UEFA Women’s EURO England 2022. “It’s given me a life, to be honest. I think it’s taught me everything that I know about life, about myself. It’s widened my horizons and made me the person I am today.”
During Qatar 2022, Nadim will be paying close attention to Denmark’s World Cup campaign, with the Danes drawn in Group D alongside reigning world champions France, North African opponents Tunisia and intercontinental play-off winners Australia. She hopes Danish supporters savour what will be a unique tournament atmosphere in Qatar.
“I think they will experience the love for the game, the passion and the differences of how football is celebrated here,” Nadim said. “I remember during the Arab Cup, watching the Algeria versus Morocco game, and I thought it was very different to anything I’ve experienced in a football stadium before. It was a different way of celebrating and showing passion, and I enjoyed it. It’s also a good way to learn and expand your horizons.”
Nadim is confident that Kasper Hjulmand’s side have what it takes to make an impact in the tournament after a strong run of results that included a near-flawless qualifying campaign for Qatar 2022.
“The Danish team has had an amazing run,” Nadim said. “In the last Euros, they did so well to get to the semi-finals. They also had an amazing qualifying campaign for the World Cup, so everyone should come and support the team, it’s fun to watch them. Hopefully, we go far.”
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