More than 25 thousand football fans from all over Qatar attended the Khalifa International Stadium Fan Zone since it opened last Friday, 15 June. Organised by Aspire Zone Foundation in collaboration with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, Arab teams’ matches, particularly for Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, saw the highest number of attendees, along with big matches that include football giants Argentina and Brazil against Croatia and Switzerland respectively.
Prominent presence from diplomats and media personalities
The Khalifa International Stadium Fan Zone attracted a number of dignitaries, including HE the Ambassador of the Republic of Tunisia to the State of Qatar, Salah Al Salhi, HE the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco, Nabil Zniber, HE the Ambassador of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria to Qatar, Abdelaziz Sebaa, HE the Ambassador of Sudan to Qatar Fath al-Rahman Ali Mohamed and HE Ambassador of the Republic of Benin Mohamed Bare.
A number of diplomats and prominent media personalities were also present, including the General Manager of Al Kass Sports Channels Essa Bin Abdullah Al Hitmi, and Aljazeera presenter, Mohammed Krishan, among others.
Speaking from the sidelines of the Tunisia vs England match, HE the Ambassador of the Republic of Tunisia to the State of Qatar, Salah Al Salhi, said: “We supported the Tunisian national team here from the iconic Khalifa International Stadium Fan Zone along with many diplomats and ambassadors from fellow Arab and African countries. Thanks to the stadium’s cooling technology, we felt as if we were watching the games in winter.”
Meanwhile, General Manager of Al Kass Sports Channels Essa Bin Abdullah Al Hitmi, added: “I’m here at the Khalifa International Stadium Fan Zone to support the Tunisian national team in their match against England. The atmosphere in the stadium is very exciting and lively. We feel as if we’re watching the games from Russia. I’m impressed with the cooling technology that has successfully lowered the temperature to 22˚C.”
Daily media presence at the Khalifa International Stadium Fan Zone
The Khalifa International Stadium Fan Zone also received wide media coverage from local and international media outlets who attended on a daily basis to showcase the huge number of fans and showcase their reactions while watching the games. These include BeIN Sports, Al Kass Sports Channels, Aljazeera, Qatar Television in addition to other local TV outlets including Al Rayyan and local newspapers. There was also a big presence of East Asian radio channels at the Fan Zone from Malayalam 98.6 FM, ONE FM Qatar 89.6, Radio Olive 106.3 FM and Radio Suno 91.7 FM.
Impressions from the fans in attendance
Many fans in attendance noted that they were quite impressed with the Khalifa International Stadium Fan Zone, and praised the efforts made by Aspire Zone Foundation and the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy for organising it.
Ibrahim Hashisha, President of the Tunisian community council in Doha, said: “The atmosphere here is world class, we’re very happy with the huge turnout from football fans to support Tunisia in its match against England. Despite the loss, we’re confident in our team and we wish them the best of luck in their match against Belgium.”
Meanwhile, Ahmad Kamal from Egypt, added: “We thank Aspire Zone Foundation and the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy for organising the Fan Zone in Khalifa International Stadium. They did a great job and gave football fans a platform from which they can meet other football fans and share their excitement as they all cheer for their favourite teams at this year’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. We were able to bring our children with us to the Fan Zone thanks to the family areas, and our entry and exit to and from the fan zone was very convenient.”
Ayoub from Morocco, remarked: “The atmosphere was very engaging in the stadium. Even though the Moroccan national team lost, we didn’t lose hope, and we continued to cheer them on in their second match against Portugal. They played well in the second match but they still lost, and that’s unfortunate, but we wish them the best of luck in future games.”
Mohammad Al Qahtani from Qatar, also said: “I’d like to extend my thanks to the organisers for doing a great job. Everything is world class and people are enjoying their time a lot here.”
Whilst Saeed Ibrahim from Jordan added: “This is my first visit to Khalifa International Stadium and I’m quite impressed with the cooling technology. The temperature outside the stadium was more than 30˚C while inside it’s about 20˚C if not less. As a Brazil fan, I was very happy to be here. There was a lot of excitement for Brazil and Switzerland’s match and it made watching the match more enjoyable.”
Official sponsors of the Aspire Zone Foundation’s Fan Zone at Khalifa International Stadium
This year’s Fan Zone is sponsored by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (Main Partner) and Ooredoo (Main Sponsor), as well as Al Attiya Motors and Trading Co., Mannai Trading CO. WLL (CISCO), Witr Jewellery, Royal Air Maroc (RAM) and Pepsi. The Fan Zone is the ideal location for the country’s football fans to celebrate the most anticipated sporting event in the world, to follow World Cup games and keep up-to-date with all the action. Games will be screened at the Fan Zone every day throughout the tournament.
Cover image courtesy of AZF
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