Qataris reflect on what it means for them to experience their country being the first in the Arab world to host the football mega event.

Doha, Qatar – When Qatar was announced as the host of the 2022 World Cup 12 years ago, Aisha al-Ali and her husband had recently married and were starting to build their new house in Rawdat al-Hamama

Her husband had some doubts, saying the location was too remote, but she assured him that with the approaching tournament, “I’m sure Qatar will change.”

She was right. In a little more than a decade, roads, highways and bridges were constructed, easily connecting the entire country.

Since being awarded hosting rights in 2010, Qatar has spent more than $200bn on developing and improving infrastructure, including building seven new football stadiums.

“We only had 12 years to build the infrastructure, build these highways, make sure [Qatar] has public transportation and roads for easy access for all the stadiums,” says al-Ali

As it’s the first time for an Arab, Muslim country in the Middle East to host “a grand event such as the World Cup … it is our time to shine,” al-Ali said.

“It is our time to show the world that we are a part of you, we are as good as you to host it. Sports unites all nations together.