Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani inaugurated the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup, which got under way yesterday with a spectacular ceremony that left a packed Khalifa International Stadium in awe.
“In the name of Allah, the Merciful, and upon the blessing of Allah, I announce the opening of the 24th Gulf Cup. In the name of every Qatari, we welcome everyone, to everyone’s Doha,” H H the Amir said while declaring the eight-nation tournament open.
The opening ceremony was attended by Father Amir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, H H Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Personal Representative of H H the Amir, H H Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani, H H Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani and H E Sheikh Jassim bin Khalifa Al Thani.
Hundreds of performers took part in the opening ceremony yesterday that lasted for almost 45 minutes ahead of the inaugural match between Qatar and Iraq.
The dazzling fireworks, just before the kick off of the opening game, thrilled 37, 890 fans after the ceremony that had many features.
The opening ceremony began with a visual display of heritage paintings, a documentary film about the history of the Gulf Cup since its inception in 1970, the entry of flags of participating countries and the display of fireworks.
Performers displayed a traditional sword dance during the ceremony showcasing brotherhood among the people of the region.
Spectators were also shown the glimpse of memorable moments in the past Gulf Cup editions on the giant screens erected at the Khalifa International Stadium. The fans’ area remained illuminated with mini lights, giving a stunning look. Famous regional players and officials of the past were also honoured.
Earlier, fans were seen flocking to the Khalifa International Stadium hours before the kick off of the opening match.
“It’s a moment of pride for all the Arab nations,” Ahmed Ali, an Iraqi enthusiast said. “We are happy that all the eight Gulf countries are participating. Our team is good and we are going to support our national team.”