2010 was a particularly successful year for Kuwait. The national team proved that they were once again a force to be reckoned with in Middle Eastern football by winning the prestigious Gulf Cup for the tenth time. FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter then provided another landmark with his visit to the country on Wednesday 15 December 2010. The head of world football's governing body was accompanied by Issa Hayatou, FIFA vice-president and president of the African Football Confederation (CAF).
Upon his arrival in Kuwait City, the FIFA President went to the Al-Diwan Al-Amiri government headquarters for a private audience with HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. "It was a great honour to be welcomed by the Emir," said Blatter. "We had a very interesting conversation on a variety of subjects, including football of course," said Blatter.
The next stop for the FIFA President was the headquarters of the Kuwait Football Association (KFA) in Udailyia, where he met the head of the FA, Sheikh Talal Al Fahad Al-Sabah, as well as other high-ranking officials. The party then went together to visit the adjacent stadium which was significantly financed by the FIFA Goal Project.
Blatter was given an enthusiastic reception at the venue, which can host 1,800 fans and will offer round-the-clock playing and training facilities thanks to its floodlights. He then handed out official badges to FIFA referees from the Kuwaiti FA before greeting the captain, coach and other members of the national team which qualified for the FIFA World Cup™ for the only time in the country's history in 1982.
The crowd certainly showed its enthusiasm as Blatter then performed the official inauguration ceremony with Sheikh Talal Al Fahad Al-Sabah. "We feel very honoured to have the FIFA President here with us on this auspicious day," said the KFA president. "Football in Kuwait is incredibly grateful to FIFA for its amazing support. This wonderful Goal Project will enable our teams to train at any time of day or night. It will be of inestimable worth in terms of developing talent in our country."
"I'm delighted to be here today to open this stadium. The development of football and the work carried out with youngsters in Kuwait will hopefully be given further momentum by these excellent facilities," said Blatter, who then watched a training session with young players and even showed off his own ball skills.
The eventful day came to a close with a press conference during which the FIFA President fielded questions from the many journalists in attendance, before heading to Abu Dhabi to attend the semi-final of the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2010 between Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma F.C. and F.C. Internazionale Milano.