On The Trail Of Genghis Khan
On 23 September, one day after a Goal inauguration ceremony in Beijing, the FIFA President and his AFC counterpart Mohamed bin Hammam travelled to Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia – one of the few countries the FIFA President had never previously visited. The Mongolian association was understandably delighted to welcome their new guests. In the afternoon, the association organised a traditional Naadam Festival, featuring typical local sporting activities such as wrestling, archery and horse-riding as well as Mongolian folk music and songs. The event, which concluded with a gala dinner, gave a fascinating insight into the diversity of Mongolian culture, which stretches back as far as the 13th century and the reign of the legendary Genghis Khan.
The following day, there were audiences with the Mongolian Prime Minister, Miyegombo Enkhbold, and the head of state, President Nambar Enkhbayar, who decorated Blatter and Bin Hammam. The final event on the programme was the inauguration of the second Mongolian Goal project: the association’s smart new headguarters built into a stand with 1,500 seats. Together with the artificial pitch laid during the first Goal project in Mongolia, the stand now forms a mini-stadium where future domestic and international matches can be held.