The FIFA World Cup in Qatar will mark the first such hosting of the major event in the Middle East.
Incoming African football fans will add excitement the World Cup in Qatar, former Manchester City and Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure said in an exclusive interview with Doha News.
The Ivory Coast World Cup ambassador said Africans will “bring a particular passion, fun, and diversity to the game since they enjoy the games.
“They are so different than other continents, other counties because they come and support their teams one hundred percent.”
Approximately 1.5 million fans are expected to flock to the peninsula for the World Cup, set to kick off in just two weeks, with many spectators coming from African countries.
With the World Cup counting down on everybody’s timers, the mindset of all footballers is “excitement,” the African superstar, who decided to end his career as a champion in 2019, said.
“The mindset of the player right now is excitement because we know the cup is every four years, and everyone wants to participate,” Toure told Doha News.
“Players are trying to avoid injuries, which is quite tough, but when I was playing, I was thinking that when we approach the beginning of the tournament, I was anxious.”
Headlined as a memorable World Cup with several veteran superstars scheduled to represent their nations for one final time, Toure reminisced on legends like Lionel Messi and Christian Ronaldo.
“All these big stars will carry on, but at the end of the day, they are human beings, and the time comes by quick to get you,” Toure said to Doha News.
Toure, now 39-year-old, cited his own experiences on the pitch and the constant battle against father time during his 18 years of football.
“It’s tough to carry on to compete with the young guys since they run more and recover quicker.”
“To be honest, without them [Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo], I can’t imagine the World Cup; let’s see what is going to happen after the World Cup. If they’re going to decide to retire, we will see,” Toure added.
While Argentina’s Messi has confirmed this year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar will be his last, Ronaldo has yet to make such an announcement.