Fifa World Cup 2022
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China is to gift two giant pandas to Qatar ahead of the Fifa World Cup in November. Photo: EPA-EFE

Fifa World Cup 2022: China gifts giant pandas to Qatar as ‘sign of friendship’ ahead of 32-team tournament

  • Suhail and Soraya will arrive in the Gulf state next month ahead of November’s competition
  • While China’s men did not qualify for the World Cup, Chinese companies have been heavily involved in helping build the stadiums
China is to give Qatar two giant pandas to mark the World Cup being held in the Gulf state.

Zhou Jian, China’s ambassador to Doha, said that “Suhail” and “Soraya” would arrive in Qatar in October, ahead of the 32-nation tournament that starts November 20.

The planet’s most populous nation did not qualify for the World Cup but Chinese companies have been involved in the construction of mega projects around the event.

“This is a gift presented by the 1.4 billion Chinese people for the Qatar World Cup, and will surely become a new symbol of China-Qatar friendship,” the envoy said at a reception.

Suhail is the name of one of the brightest stars visible in the Gulf region, while Soraya is the Arabic name for the Pleiades star cluster.