Posted on July 20, 2017

Nasreddin Hakim is one of 5,000 Algerian nationals living in Doha. Like many of his compatriots he is crazy about football, passionate about his country and proud of its contribution to football.

Keen to get involved with the 2022 FIFA World Cup from the outset, Hakim was provided with the “perfect opportunity” in 2015 – when the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with 27 local communities residing in Qatar, reported.

The MoU was part of an SC-initiative to strengthen partnerships with local residents and increase community participation in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar. And Hakim says it has done just that, allowing him – and many others – to be integrated into the activities of the SC. “Following the signature of the MoU, the frequency of community activities has increased,” he said. “We have benefited from the professional expertise and exposure provided by the workshops arranged by the SC. However, the Algerian resident community has always been associated with the World Cup right from the early days of the bid. “We were with Qatar right from the beginning of the historic journey and will be there till its successful end. We have always been proud participants in the process of a larger Arab history being written here in Qatar.”

Hakim, who is president of the Al Khor-based division of the Algerian community and head of engineering processes at Qatar Petroleum, has had an eventful time since arriving in Doha in 1998. He has seen the country develop rapidly, with the crowning glory for him and his community being the historic bid win of December 2, 2010. “We had only about 2,000 members in our community at the time of the bid win,” recalled Hakim. “However, the enthusiasm with which we participated was a sight to behold. We were all driven towards the goal of securing rights to host the first ever World Cup in the Arab world. 

“I recall with gratitude the support given to the community by the Qatar Olympic Committee – those were the times which pre-dated the SC.”Hakim also recalls the times when he first moved to Qatar with his dentist wife and two sons aged four and two, respectively. “Doha had very few landmarks then and the Sheraton was the most prominent among the few. The new Khalifa International Stadium and its state-of-the-art cooling technology is an illustration of the progress the country has made. 
“I have seen this country grow big and it has given me as much joy as watching my two boys, Zacharia and Mehdi, become men.” 

The 2022 FIFA World Cup won’t be Hakim’s first experience of the tournament. Three years ago, he travelled to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup to follow his national team’s heroics in the second round defeat in extra-time against eventual champions Germany. During his visit, he was interviewed by a leading sports broadcaster wearing Algerian colours and waving a Qatar national flag. A declaration of pride for his two homes – past and present. “Qatar and Algeria have strong football ties, which was my message to Brazil,” he said. “Algeria’s Rabah Madjer, who won the European Cup in 1986-87 with Porto and scored in our 1982 FIFA World Cup win against West Germany, had two coaching spells here with Al Wakrah and Al Rayyan. 

“Former Algerian international Nadir Belhadj scored the winning penalty for Al Sadd in the 2011 AFC Champions League final. I hope it is now the turn of Riyad Mahrez to do something special in Qatar in 2022.” However, Leicester City’s Premier League-winning playmaker will not be the only Algerian hoping to do something special in Qatar in 2022. “I would hopefully be retired then and will have all the time in the world to ensure that our countrymen who come from across the world are made at home. “There were about 7,000 Algerians in Brazil and the number would be much higher here.”

source: Gulf Times