AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER
THE South African Football Association (SAFA) and the South Africans in Qatar (SAIQ) community group today officially launched and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the first Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana Supporters’ Club in the Middle East.
The announcement made in Johannesburg and Doha today – exactly two years to the day before the kickoff of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar – was attended by SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan, Qatar Football Association General Secretary, Mansoor Al Ansari, and South Africa’s Ambassador to Qatar, HE Faizel Moosa.
The MoU is part of the bigger vision of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy’s (SC) Community Engagement Programme, where communities within Qatar are encouraged to be part of their country’s 2022 journey and as they participate in the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers, via community fan groups.
The supporters’ club is a fan-driven (community-driven) initiative to bring the game of football to the community and the Qatari community closer to the game. Run by community representatives and enthusiasts of sport and football, Samantha Abrahams, Brad Habana, Xolani Holomisa and Bernard Lodge, the supporters’ club is inclusive and welcoming and open to all South African expatriates living and working in Qatar.
Some of the initiatives the South African community has hosted in Qatar include the establishment of a Boktown public viewing area for Springbok matches during the 2019 Rugby World Cup. It has also supported Brand South Africa and South African Tourism with marketing initiatives in the Middle East.
“The establishment of the first Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana Supporters Club in the Middle East by the South African community in Qatar is a very positive development, which we welcome. We are doing all we can to ensure Bafana takes its place among the world’s football elite in Qatar in 2022. As the first African hosts of the FIFA World Cup, we are fully behind Qatar’s efforts to host the Middle East’s first FIFA World Cup. We have no doubt it will be an excellent, world-class event played in incredible, modern stadia in a beautiful football-loving country,” said SAFA President, Dr Danny Jordaan.
“Official recognition for the Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana Supporters’ Club Qatar from the South African Football Association is symbolic of the strong football fan culture among residents in Qatar. There are many supporters’ groups in Qatar and they will all help to enhance the fan and cultural experience during the FIFA World Cup in 2022,” added Qatar Football Association General Secretary, Mr Mansoor Al Ansari.
South Africa’s Ambassador to Qatar, HE Faizel Moosa, said sport remains the bridge between nations and welcomed the forging of closer ties between the two countries.
“We encourage our South African expatriates to come forward in the true South African spirit of UBUNTU and be the true South African ambassadors that we are and ensure that 2022 is a memorable experience for all those who will be coming to Qatar for this remarkable experience,” said Ambassador Moosa.
It was a busy day for tournament organisers, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, and the SC’s Executive Director of Communications, Fatma Ali Al Nuaimi, said: “Supporters’ groups like this one provide an opportunity for fans around the world to connect with people in Qatar. It’s vital we mobilise our many local communities to contribute to the atmosphere and spirit of celebration that will ensure lasting memories for everyone who visits Qatar in 2022.”
South Africans in Qatar supporters club
Established in 2020, the supporters’ club is dedicated to supporting the SC’s Community Engagement Programme and the journey of Bafana Bafana (SAFA) as they compete for a place in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. The club is open to all and is a safe and friendly environment for fans to get together and support football in Qatar.