Bangladeshis living abroad play have played a vital role in building Qatar's infrastructure and executing the World Cup's many activities.
The FIFA World Cup is a prestigious global sporting event that began on November 21 in Doha, Qatar after four years of anticipation. Even though Bangladesh's football team is not playing in Doha, its citizens, and their contribution, are visible at every level, in each of the eight stadiums and other major infrastructure connected to the showpiece event.
Bangladeshi expats are involved everywhere, whether it is in the stadium's construction, in the making of the t-shirts worn by officials, or in the stadium's medical system., and even match supervision. Bangladeshis are also heavily involved in backend work in the security, hospitality, transportation, and service industries supporting the organisation of this mega show.
To ensure the success of the World Cup, about two milllion expat workers, which included thousands of professionals, particularly from South Asia, relocated to Qatar. Besides eight new stadiums, the fruits of their labor include a posh hotel, the Doha Metro, airports, and a brand-new city called Lusail. The Qatari government has constructed a "flag plaza" where the Bangladeshi flag flies along with those of other countries whose nations contributed to the construction of eight stadiums built for the World Cup.
Made in Bangladesh jerseys, accessories
Bangladesh's world-renowned garment industry made its own signal contribution to the event. Bangladeshi workers produced 600,000 official t-shirts for the World Cup. FIFA officials, referees, ball boys, and several spectators in the gallery are wearing jerseys made in Bangladesh. For various age groups, five different varieties of t-shirts are being produced.
Made in Bangladesh apparel included jackets, caps, socks, gloves, trousers, and other World Cup football accessories, in addition to jerseys. Previously, the renowned Bangladeshi clothing sector provided 400,000 jackets for the 2018 Euro Cup and 450,000 jackets for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Bangladeshis will also help to maintain the players' health during the competition. Ayesha Parveen, a woman doctor from Bangladesh, is a medical professional on the field for the World Cup matches at 974 Stadium, one of the World Cup venues in Qatar. This doctor has prior experience serving at the same location at the FIFA Arab Cup in 2021.
Bangladeshi in various roles
A Bangladeshi engineer, Washikur Rahman Shubo, also worked as the chief structural engineer at one of the stadium projects.
A Bangladeshi referee, Mohammad Shiakat Ali, is serving as match referee coordinator, overseeing the work of 24 video match officials, 69 assistant referees, and 36 referees.
In the Qatar World Cup, volunteers are referred to as the "heart of the tournament" in which more than 400 Bangladeshi volunteers are serving with FIFA officials in various capacities.
Around 8,000 Bangladeshi drivers are working for taxi services and ride-hailing apps serving around 1.5 million fans and tourists who have descended in the country and will be here till December 18. They received specialized training in local culture, etiquette, and language.
Many Bangladeshis have contributed to the beautification of the entire area, including the stadiums. Many of the workers did not receive fair pay or proper holidays, it was alleged. Over 6,000 migrant workers died in the run-up to the Cup, according to a Guardian investigation. Among them were also 1, 018 Bangladeshis.
There is no doubt that Bangladeshis living abroad play have played a vital role in building Qatar's infrastructure and executing the World Cup's many activities. The fact that the South Asian nation's name is connected to the "greatest show on earth" makes all Bangladeshis, whether they live in Bangladesh or outside the country, feel proud.
(The author is a security and strategic affairs analyst in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Views are personal. He can be reached at email@example.com)