Their countries’ teams aren’t even in the World Cup. So why are these fans traveling to Qatar?

Garrett Gardner
Their countries’ teams aren’t even in the World Cup. So why are these fans traveling to Qatar?

Doha, Qatar (CNN) — The accommodation is in tents or prefabs, there is no beer in the stadiums, the temperatures are uncomfortably scorching and the entire celebration is mired in controversy in excess of alleged human legal rights abuses.

While that is not ample to discourage hardcore soccer fans from touring to Qatar to assistance their national teams in the Earth Cup, additional amazingly, it hasn’t been more than enough to discourage even all those whose place groups usually are not even in the level of competition.

Wander all over the narrow streets of downtown Doha and you are unable to aid but get caught up in Planet Cup fever, with followers from all four corners of the world conference in squares and dining establishments to rejoice their cultures with one particular another.

The evenings are significantly occupied, with groups gathering jointly by country, singing their hearts out to the seemingly continuous rhythm of drums that reverberate by means of downtown Doha.

1 of the loudest teams in the days working up to kickoff was a pocket of England enthusiasts from India.

The team is thoroughly coordinated, donning the very same shirt with the name of England captain Harry Kane on the again. They proudly sing songs associated with the English countrywide staff but they mix them with classic chants from back property.

‘Football is our life’

Doha's Souq Waqif marketplace has become hub of fan activity.

Doha’s Souq Waqif market has turn out to be hub of lover exercise.

DOHA, QATAR – NOVEMBER 17: Uruguay lovers roam the streets with flags and scarves in advance of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 at Souq Waqif on November 17, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Pictures)

The supporters went viral very last week, with men and women accusing them of getting “fake lovers,” made use of to build the impact of individuals having fun with a World Cup that, many thanks to the controversy surrounding its Middle Eastern hosts, may well deficiency the common pizazz of the match held each and every four a long time.

Qatar 2022 organizers, as very well as FIFA, rubbished the statements and a member of the team informed CNN that he was stunned to see the headlines.

“We are a fan group from Kerala, in South India,” he mentioned, too fast paced singing and dancing to give his total title.

“India is not in the match and we have usually loved England. We made use of to enjoy David Beckham enjoy so we are passionate about England in Qatar.”

These lovers are agent of a broader topic of Qatar 2022, which has authorized a lot of to get a flavor of Entire world Cup action.

Ali Abbadi is from Jordan and at this time lives in Dubai. He spoke to CNN as he explored Souq Waqif, a market which has grow to be a hub of fan activity.

“I am in this article for the reason that it’s a excellent opportunity and it truly is very close to our state,” he claimed. “In 2018, the Environment Cup [in Russia] was far too considerably from our place but now we experience the Environment Cup is in our dwelling.”

“In the Middle East we often check out football. Soccer is our everyday living.”

Messi business

World cup fans 2

Ali Abbadi, like several other individuals in Doha, will be supporting Argentina at Qatar 2022.

Ben Church/CNN

The 35-12 months-old was proudly sporting an Argentina shirt and he’s surely not on your own.

The blue and white colors are by far the most well-liked in Doha this 7 days and almost all the shirts have the name Messi on the back.

It not only demonstrates the superstar player’s pulling electricity but also the affect that his current club Paris-Saint Germain has had on the environment.

The French side is owned by the Qatar Sports Financial investment group and posters of its star players, Neymar and Messi, are plastered all about Doha.

But, compared with lots of who have adopted the South American side for this year’s event, it just isn’t the cause that Ali is cheering for them.

“I supported Argentina even right before Messi. Messi is carrying out a great occupation but I supported Argentina for much more than 15 many years,” he stated.

“I viewed gamers like [Gabriel] Batistuta, [Hernán] Crespo, so I hope they win in Qatar.”

It seems you you should not even need to be passionate about a group in order to love the Globe Cup.

Fei Peng is from China and traveled to Qatar to watch the tournament with his good friends. CNN met him as he was bedding into his new accommodation in 1 of the somewhat dystopian supporter villages on the edge of the city.

‘It’s perfect’

World cup fans 1

The Leungs are keeping in one particular of the lover villages and will be cheering for the Netherlands.

Ben Church/CNN

The scramble for lodging is likely to incredibly hot up offered Qatar is set to welcome an approximated 1.5 million enthusiasts above the month-very long tournament, which commences on November 20.

“This is a really great chance to come to a host country that is smaller than my household metropolis [Beijing],” reported Peng, who told CNN he had tickets for 35 matches in excess of the tournament.

“We can have the prospect to show up at so a lot of games, it’s fantastic.”

When requested who he’d be supporting at the Environment Cup, Peng said he experienced “no genuine preference” but preferred South Korea and Japan to do nicely.

“As I’m Asian, I want the Asian groups to do properly but I’m just hunting ahead to observing excellent benefits,” he mentioned.

“Also, I hope China can qualify for the upcoming Entire world Cup in The united states, that would be so unique.”

Only a handful of doorways down from where CNN met Peng, Jimmy and Kennis Leung were acquiring comfy in their house for the next 16 times.

The pair traveled to Qatar from Hong Kong but, in contrast to Peng, they extremely much have a most loved staff to support.

Jimmy was dressed in the distinctive orange shades of The Netherlands and claims he’s fired up to see his adopted workforce enjoy, despite there becoming no evident one-way links with the Dutch facet.

“They have excellent gamers and record and I just like the crew,” he reported, beaming. “I want to see all their team video games.”

Amid all the criticism of Qatar 2022, the event has definitely delivered an prospect for individuals to enjoy a person of the world’s most important sporting events for the to start with time.

Organizers will hope these tales go some way in justifying the selection to let the little country of Qatar host a Globe Cup like no other.

Prime picture credit rating: David Ramos/Getty Illustrations or photos

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