A former Super Eagles goalkeeper Peterside Idah has backed Qatar’s ban on alcohol in stadiums at the ongoing World Cup.
Hours before the kickoff, Qatari authorities banned the sales of beer around stadiums, prompting a wave of backlash.
But Peterside has backed the move, saying fans and the football world, in general, should respect other people’s culture.
“So, we should just respect people’s traditions and culture,” he said while featuring on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, hours after the first game of the 2022 World Cup was played.
The television pundit accused the West of painting Qatar badly because they are not hosting the tournament, recalling that they were similar fears about South Africa’s hosting of the competition in 2010.
“When we hosted in South Africa, it was the same thing. They said lions would eat people; people would be robbed and heads will be cut off. They always have something to say. I just think they should calm down and let’s watch football.”
Having traveled to several countries including Russia where the last edition of the World Cup was played, he argued that the fears about non-Western countries hosting the tournament are exaggerated.
“The Western world would always want to paint every other country wrong if they are not hosting,” the 47-year-old added. “You remember that Qatar beat the UK and US to host, so they are so bitter and angry!”
As far as he is concerned, fans who want to drink beer should do that after the games and respect the traditions of the host nation.
While the Super Eagles are not in the competition, Peterside said the only difference that makes is that football fans in Nigeria would be watching the tournament with their “heads and not their hearts”.
“If your team qualifies, you watch with your heart. If your team does not qualify, you watch with your head. That is the difference. There is no heart. Whoever wins, it rarely doesn’t matter,” the sports analyst noted.
“But as a football person, you just want to enjoy the ambiance; enjoy the World Cup; enjoy the scenario and the vibes of the World Cup. We are just tagging along.”