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KUWAIT CITY, Dec 17: Today, the entire Kuwaiti nation will attend, play and celebrate the opening of Sheikh Jaber International Sports Stadium which will start at exactly 19:30 hours.
The event will be graced by the presence of its sponsor, HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
The ceremony will start with a music operetta and exhibition football match between Kuwait’s All-Stars Team led by national coach Muhammad Ibrahim and the International All-Stars Team led by renowned Italian coach Fabio Capello.
More than 15 international football star players have arrived to join the people of Kuwait in their jubilation as they celebrate the opening of the stadium, despite various attempts in the past days to spoil the ceremony — whether from local or foreign bodies, including FIFA.
Since HH the Amir has given instructions on hosting a grand festival to mark the opening of the stadium, the Amiri Diwan doubled its efforts, together with various concerned ministries and the sports authority, to ensure that the preparations for the ceremony will be completed within schedule in spite of the limited time in their hands.
Therefore, preparations to host this grand event were finalized in record time, especially in terms of bringing a large number of football superstars on short notice and finding alternatives for those who might excuse themselves in less than 48 hours.
Concerning the match, Kuwait’s All-Stars Team is looking for a historic win against the international superstars in front of a fascinating crowd of about 60,000 spectators. This will be the second time in Kuwaiti history to host a huge number of spectators; the first was during the final match of the Asian Clubs Championship between Kuwait’s Al-Qadisiya and Al-Itihad of Syria in 2010.
Kuwait’s All-Stars Team will enter with the list of 19 players chosen by the public — almost 30,000 football fans. The expected starting line-up for the team includes goalkeeper Khaled Al-Rashidi with the defense of Hussein Hakim, Musaed Nada, Fahad Al-Hajiri and Abdallah Al-Bureiki; while in the middle will be Fahad Al-Ansari, Muhammad Juraagh, Fahad Al-Enezi and AbdulAziz Al-Mish’an; in addition to Badar Al-Mutawa and AbdulHadi Khamees at the attacking position.
On the other hand, the expected starting line-up for the international stars consists of German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann while in the defense are Carles Puyol (Spain), Michel Salgado (Spain), Alessandro Nesta (Italy) and his compatriot Gianluca Zambrotta; whereas in the middle will be Luis Figo (Portugal), Ronaldihno (Brazil), Robert Pires (France) and Mohamed Aboutrika (Egypt); and the forward position will be for Alessandro Del Piero (Italy) and Dwight Yorke (Trinidad and Tobago).
Meanwhile, the organizer committee of the opening of the Jaber Stadium and all the teams involved in arrangements for the occasion have been hard at work to provide favorable conditions to guarantee a Friday triumphant event.
Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs and Acting Minister of Electricity and Water Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, who is also head of the committee, made the statement on the eve of the occasion, during a visit to the world top footballers who will play against Kuwaiti stars as part of the celebrations.
The majority of the world players has arrived, only few have not yet, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah said, adding that in case any of them withdraws, an alternative will be present. He promised a “surprise” over the coming few hours, if matters go smoothly.
Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was astonished that the FIFA is impeding the international players from taking part in the celebrations saying that the Friday match “does not contravene with the laws (set by the FIFA).” All will rejoice in the celebrations that are not confined to the football match, he said, noting that the committee will achieve His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s wish and directives, namely to bring joy and delight to sports fans, and the entire Kuwaiti people.
Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah thanked all the those who took part in the organization of the grand event, and stressed that Kuwait is keen on respecting the international sports charters “that, I believe, do not contravene with Kuwaiti (sports) laws.”
Meanwhile, the minister hoped that the government’s efforts, led by Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Sabah Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah and officials of the Public Authority for Sports (PAS), with the relevant international institutions, would lead to a lift of the suspension on Kuwait’s international activities.
Jaber Stadium, located 15 kilometers south of Kuwait City in Al-Farwaniya Governorate, covers an area of 400,000 square meters, and has the capacity of 60,000 spectators.