Biggest soccer event opens in Bahrain
Manama, January 5, 2013
His Majesty King Hamad will open this evening the biggest soccer spectacular-ever in Bahrain's history, 21st Gulf Football Cup, which will continue until January 18 at the National Stadium in Riffa.
Soccer fever is set to grip the kingdom for almost two weeks after the opening ceremony of the 21st Gulf Football Cup at 6pm at Bahrain National Stadium, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
Among those at the ceremony will be Fifa president Joseph Sepp Blatter, Uefa president Michel Platini, as well as prominent sporting figures from Bahrain and the Gulf.
UAE star singer Hussain Al Jasmi will perform the opening song, along with Bahraini composer and singer Nazar Abdulla, and singers Ahmed Al Hermi and Fatma Al Zayani.
Bahraini poet Yunus Suleiman wrote the song and Nazar Abdulla composed the music, while Hisham Al Sakran ensured the musical distribution.
The song celebrates the deep-rooted and rich heritage of the GCC as well as the unity bonding the Gulf peoples. Although simple in concept, the ceremony will stress the crucial role of sport in cementing GCC bonds and celebrating the goals of the event which was launched in Bahrain in 1970.
It will be followed by the first two matches of the tournament - at 7.25pm and 9.25pm.
The chairman of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sport and Head of the Supreme Organising Committee of the Gulf Cup Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa stressed Bahrain's efforts to ensure its success, and wished the teams success.
Restaurants across Bahrain are hoping to cash in as thousands of football fans descend on Bahrain for a major tournament.
They have already made preparations to accommodate coverage of the 21st Gulf Cup. Popular outlets have also put up additional screens and created special offers in anticipation of the expected rush.
"We have increased our capacity by 25 per cent just to accommodate the extra rush," said the manager of a fast food chain restaurant in Juffair.
"We are hoping we will get more than the usual rush of visitors, particularly on match day and after match hours."
"Since all the visitors will be from the region, they will not stay for long, but return when their team plays again."
An official at a popular Lebanese restaurant on the Exhibition Avenue said additional television screens were being put up to show the games live.
"People would want to watch the matches while they eat and we will satisfy that demand," he said.
"Also, there will be constant coverage so we will ensure we have special offers in place to attract more customers."
Three-star hotels in the same area also hope a major boost in business as they expect hundreds of visitors from neighbouring countries to stay in the area.
"We will ensure football coverage is available in the lobby at all times," said one hotel official. "We have been doing fairly well in the last few months and have a lot of visitors over the weekends but with the Gulf Cup, we shall see an increase on a daily basis," he added.-TradeArabia News Service