UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine are among those arriving in Doha.

World leaders, politicians, diplomats and royalty have started to arrive in Qatar before the 20th FIFA World Cup 2022 kick off on Sunday.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrived in Doha on Saturday, followed by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who was spotted at Hamad International Airport on Sunday, Qatar News Service reported.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia also landed in the host country late Saturday before Sunday night opening match among Qatar and Ecuador.

Prince Mohammed’s arrival in Qatar comes after Saudi Arabia and Doha resume diplomatic relations in January 2021 after years of frosty relationships.

Saudi Arabia plays in Group C and will face Argentina on November 22.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will also attend the opening ceremony, Egyptian state television quoted the presidency as saying on Sunday.

Those who did not attend in person have sent messages of support.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, received a call from Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday. He called the emir’s office to congratulate the host country and wish the Qatari national team good luck in their upcoming matches.

qatar football
Bassam al-Rawi of Qatar celebrates after scoring in the AFC Asian Cup against Iraq at Al Nahyan Stadium, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in 2019 [File: Suhaib Salem/Reuters]

The official opening ceremony will take place at Al Bayt Stadium at 5pm (2pm GMT) on Sunday before the inauguration Match between Qatar and Ecuador at 7:00 PM (4:00 PM GMT).

occer Football - World Cup - South American Qualifiers - Ecuador v Argentina - Estadio Monumental Banco Pichincha, Guayaquil, Ecuador - March 29, 2022 Byron Castillo of Ecuador in action with Nicolas Gonzalez of Argentina
Ecuador’s Byron Castillo in action with Argentina’s Nicolas Gonzalez during the South American World Cup qualifiers in Guayaquil, Ecuador in March 2022 [File: Jose Jacome/Pool/Reuters]

The Emir’s office said the opening event will be attended by “a number of Their Majesties, Highnesses and Excellencies, Heads of State and Heads of Delegation from fraternal and friendly countries”.

Qatar, participating in Group A in their first World Cup appearance, will play Senegal on November 25 and the Netherlands on November 29.

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