The South African Football Association (SAFA) and the South Africans in Qatar (SAIQ) community group officially launched and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Saturday to establish the first Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana Supporters’ Club in the Middle East.

The announcement – made in Johannesburg and Doha – was attended by SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan, Qatar Football Association General Secretary, Mansoor Al Ansari, and South Africa’s Ambassador to Qatar, HE Faizel Moosa.

It comes exactly two years to the day before the kickoff of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Dr Jordaan has hailed the establishment of the club as a positive development.

“We are doing all we can to ensure Bafana takes its place among the world’s football elite in Qatar in 2022. As the first African hosts of the FIFA World Cup, we are fully behind Qatar’s efforts to host the Middle East’s first FIFA World Cup. We have no doubt it will be an excellent, world-class event played in incredible, modern stadia in a beautiful football-loving country,” says Jordaan.

Al Ansari says there are many supporters’ groups in Qatar to enhance the fan and cultural experience during the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

“Official recognition for the Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana Supporters’ Club Qatar from the South African Football Association is symbolic of the strong football fan culture among residents in Qatar,” says the Qatar Football Association General Secretary.

South Africa’s Ambassador to Qatar, HE Faizel Moosa, says sport remains the bridge between nations and welcomed the forging of closer ties between the two countries.

“We encourage our South African expatriates to come forward in the true South African spirit of Ubuntu and be the true South African ambassadors that we are and ensure that 2022 is a memorable experience for all those who will be coming to Qatar for this remarkable experience,” says Moosa.