From Xavi to Cafu - Meet the 2022 FIFA World Cup Global Ambassadors
In the build-up to its successful bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar told us to `Expect Amazing'. They are now firmly on course to deliver on that promise...and much more.
With the help of some of the world's most well-known football legends and sports superstars, who have been appointed as World Cup 2022 Global Ambassadors, Qatar is using the tournament and the power of sport to improve lives, both at home and aboard.
Qatar's Ambassador Programme
The Ambassador Programme was established in 2018 by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), the organisation responsible for delivering the FIFA World Cup 2022 and ensuring its legacy.
Qatar's 2022 social legacy goals aim to support and strengthen local, regional and global unity, promote healthier lifestyles, and increase opportunities for all in sports, education and employment.
Qatar has taken the opportunity to build in elements of social development across a broad spectrum of World Cup social legacy projects, from the development of young people and communities to supporting worker's welfare.
The Ambassador Programme hopes to drive those legacy projects by appointing a diverse range of representatives to amplify and promote their goals.
The Shining Stars
The appointment of some of the world's most iconic sports players as Global Ambassadors is one of the strategic steps the SC is taking to achieve their goals.
The stars, with their vast experience and glittering international careers, are supporting the programme in its bid to highlight the nation's legacy ambitions and to engage communities, far and wide, in social change and development initiatives.
Global Ambassadors include the most internationally capped Brazilian player of all time, Cafu; respected Qatari sports journalist and presenter, Mohammed Saadon Al Kuwari; Africa's most decorated player, Samuel Eto'o Fils; and, Spanish and FC Barcelona legend, Xavi Hernandez.
Here is a look at their short bios and what they are bringing to the programme as the countdown to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar 2022 continues.
Cafu was unveiled as a Global Ambassador for Qatar 2022 in June 2019 at a special ceremony in his home city of São Paulo hosted by SC Secretary General H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi.
Qatar's centre of excellence for the sports and events industries in the Middle East, the Josoor Institute, is tasked with putting in place academic, vocational and training courses for the upcoming pro-athletes and sports event administrators. The institute aims to fuel the rapid growth of the sports sector in the region. In his ambassador role, Cafu works to provide education and vocational training to the next generation of sports professionals and event specialists.
Cafu is one of the greatest players of his generation, not only in Brazil but the whole of the South American continent. He is the most capped Brazilian player of all time with 142 appearances, including 21 at World Cup games. And, he is the only Brazilian player to have played in three consecutive editions of the FIFA World Cup - he captained the team that brought home Brazil's fifth world title in 2002. The former Brazil captain has lifted more than 20 trophies in his illustrious career, including those won at club level for São Paulo, Roma and Milan.
Mohammed Saadon Al Kuwari
Mohammed Saadon Al Kuwari has worked with the SC to deliver and support their World Cup legacy initiatives for some years. His work as an ambassador has encompassed roles for a variety of programmes, including Generation Amazing, Challenge 22, the Josoor Institute, and the Accessibility Forum.
As an ambassador for Challenge 22, a flagship innovation award, he championed the SC's goal of promoting a culture of innovation in the Middle East. By offering an award, and subsequent business and product development support, for innovative solutions to economic, social and environmental issues, the programme is designed to support entrepreneurs, scientists and pioneers from across the Arab world.
As a volunteer for the Accessibility Forum, Saadon gave his time and support to help the SC ensure that the 2022 FIFA World Cup is the most accessible in the tournament's history.
Saadon is a former professional tennis player on the ATP Tour and a Qatar Davis Cup representative, and one of the most prominent sports journalists in the region. He is currently a presenter with beIN SPORTS.
Samuel Eto'o Fils
Former Cameroon international Samuel Eto'o Fils, one of the most decorated players in world football, was unveiled as the second Global Ambassador by the SC in April 2019.
His mandate as a Global Ambassador entails working closely with the SC on a range of projects, including those to improve workers' welfare and to support social development. In particular, Eto'o, a four-time winner of the African Player of the Year (2003, 2004, 2005, and 2010), will be working closely with the SC Workers Welfare Committee. His role is to support their mission of ensuring that all workers on Qatar 2022 projects are treated fairly, their rights upheld and their well-being defended.
In his prime, Eto'o was considered one of the best strikers in the world, and one of the greatest African players of all time. Eto'o has had the privilege of playing at four FIFA World Cup tournaments (1998, 2002, 2010 and 2014) and six Africa Cup of Nations. He is the second player in history to score in two UEFA Champions League finals. He has three UEFA Champions League winners' medals, and he won four league titles while playing for FC Barcelona and Inter Milan.
Eto'o joined QNB Stars League side Qatar Sports Club in August 2018 and was with them for one season before retiring in 2019.
Spanish football legend Xavi Hernandez was appointed as the first Global Ambassador for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in March 2018.
The iconic player, who is also the Official Ambassador for Generation Amazing - the flagship Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme of the SC - works with schoolchildren, refugees and migrant workers to use the power of football to inspire social change within communities. The ambassadors help to deliver the programme through 'football for development' training and workshops, and inspirational visits to various Generation Amazing projects in Qatar, the Middle East and the wider world.
The 39-year-old former player is one of the best midfielders in the history of the game and the best Spanish player ever. Indeed, he remains a revered figure in Spain and particularly at FC Barcelona where he won eight La Liga titles and four UEFA Champions League titles among others. For the Spanish national team, he is regarded as one of the most influential figures in the team's successes for over a decade until he announced his retirement in 2014. He also won a multitude of accolades during his impressive career and remains one of the most decorated Spanish players in history.
Xavi is currently the manager of Al Sadd Club - a team he joined as a player in 2015.
A Lasting Legacy
Qatar is determined to leave a lasting World Cup legacy for its people, the region and the world.
The country is working assiduously through many programmes, including the Global Ambassadors initiative, to build something extraordinary - a FIFA World Cup that leaves a positive and lasting legacy of social, human, economic and environmental improvements.
Long after the 2022 World Cup is over, Qatar hopes that it will be a tournament that players and fans, and those who are touched by the legacy programmes, will remember forever.
To learn more about the impact these programmes are having in Qatar, and across the world, read our Leaving a Legacy article.
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