Pandas sent by China arrive in Qatar ahead of World Cup
World Cup 2018: Qataris in China are preparing for a tough time when they arrive in a country where temperatures can top 50 degrees in July and August.
With the summer months approaching, temperatures are expected to hit 35-plus degrees Celsius (96.6-99.5 degrees Fahrenheit) in the Gulf, as Qatar prepares to welcome its biggest-ever contingent of football fans.
Qatar is one of 10 Asian teams that will arrive in China, and a few dozen others will come and go, but with temperatures expected to hit the high 70s or low 80s in the country’s high-altitude desert, the World Cup will put the Qatari team under immense pressure.
The tournament is expected to attract more than a billion television viewers across more than 150 territories, with a high viewership in China.
The most recent edition of the World Cup was watched by more than 1 billion people, a record achievement in the medium and long term.
Qatar is one of the 10 Asian teams that will arrive in China, but they are unlikely to play the majority of games.
The country has also already brought six players with Qatar to the Asian Championship.
Included in the Qatari contingent will be a number of the nation’s top footballers:
Najee Baker was one of the few players from Bahrain and has been called up by a number of Qatari teams.
During the Asian Games, he made his debut against Japan, scoring a goal while helping his country achieve a 4-0 win.
In 2014, he was one of eight Qatari soccer players to be signed by the Japanese team, which was looking to win gold at the Asian Games in Indonesia.
Baker will continue to train with Qatari club Al-Sadd, which has been selected by the AFC to take part in the Asian Championship qualifying round.
Al-Jazeera’s correspondent in Doha, Abdullah Al Thawadi, spoke with Najee during the Asian Games:
“Al-Sadd will travel to China to train the Qatari players who will be in China’s National Team for