OP-ED Sports

Gulf Twenty: Surmounting More Challenges than Intended

The Gulf 20 football tournament is coming right on cue.

In spite of the a year of quarrels, security scares, endless press statements and ceaseless stadium inspections for the tournament Yemen now approaches the end of its preparations to host the tournament, and the gloomy shadows of aspersions are being cast and dispersed almost rhythmically, like night and day.

Last week I went on a business trip to one of the gulf countries during the visits of the Yemeni official sports delegation headed by the Ministry of Sport and the Football Unions of gulf countries. The Yemeni delegation made it in good to cut the doubt on hosting the championship in Aden and Abyan.

Invitations handed personally to all the political leaderships and decision makers of the gulf countries has perhaps been the strongest end to the countless questions about Yemen’s ability to host the tournament. Although thanks is also due to famous Kuwaiti Sheikh Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah who firstly called and supported Yemen to join the gulf football cup tournament.

Through that, Yemen has enjoyed a positive presence in the gulf press, and indeed within the countless Yemeni expatriates around the Gulf who will be delighted for this opportunity not only to hold this tournament, but also to gain some impressive sports, tourism and infrastructure facilities.

Yemen and Yemenis are renowned for great hospitality and so the Gulf 20, which sees thousands of foreign visitors coming in for the event, will be a true test of character. And rising to this challenge will prove just as fulfilling in itself.

No matter if Yemen wins the tournament, it still wins from the tournament.

The success of this championship will put Yemen firmly on the map of the international football association, and will bestow a rare gift for Yemen which it badly needs; international credibility. With it, it will have the chance to host future activities.

So we should all play our part to seize this opportunity for future success. Such chances rarely come twice.