Web Desk: The Fifa World Cup, the world’s most popular sporting show to kick-off today.
Host nation Russia play Saudi Arabia in the opening match of the tournament and, over the next 32 days, football fans will be treated to 64 high-octane matches played in 12 stadiums spread across 11 Russian cities.
The stakes are high with bragging rights, the trophy, national pride as well as personal ambitions in focus.
But the tournament is not just about prestige, honour and immortality on the pitch. It’s also about money.According to world football governing body Fifa, the total prize money this year stands at Sh79.1 billion, of which Sh4 billion will be distributed to the 32 competing teams, depending on performance and placement.
Some 36 referees will officiate in the tournament with the help of 63 assistant referees.
Nigeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Senegal will fly Africa’s flag in Russia. Egypt, the most successful team in the continent, having won the Africa Cup of Nations a record seven times, returns to the World Cup after a 28-year hiatus.
Sadly, Kenya will have to continue the wait to see action at the World Cup as our football is still in the ‘intensive care unit’ and in need of a major overhaul to keep up with the top nations.Nonetheless, Kenyans will share in this festival with NTV offering free-to-air live broadcasts of 32 of the tournament’s 64 matches over the month-long extravaganza, in partnership with Kwese Free Sports.
Sport — especially the world’s most popular game of football — plays a huge role in unifying nations.
On other hand, Pakistan flag will be waved at the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Moscow, Russia.
Dera Ismail Khan’s boy Sarang Baloch will wave Pakistan’s flag at the opening ceremony, Football for Friendship programme coordinator Fahad Khan said.
Baloch is the FIFA-sponsored programme’s Young Ambassador.
“It is an honour for me to be Pakistan’s flag-bearer at the mega-event,” Baloch said.