The Asian Cup Final brings the madness of the FIFA World Cup to Qatar’s Souq Waqif Asia Cup News

Doha, Qatar – Friday night, Souq Waqif – The old-fashioned Qatari multi-purpose market that also serves as the country’s central tourist attraction – bringing together people from all walks of life, dozens of different nationalities and diverse interests for a unique blend of color and noise.

But when a country hosts a soccer tournament — whether it’s the world’s biggest sporting event like the FIFA World Cup or a regional tournament — excitement reaches fever pitch.

On the eve of the ongoing final match Asian Cup 2023The famous souq in the heart of Doha served as the staging ground for football fans of the two teams competing for the continental title in the final match on Saturday at Lusail Stadium.

Enthusiastic Nashama supporters — the Gentlemen, as the Jordanian soccer team is called — gathered in a large circle to sing traditional songs and dance to their own tunes.

“They say the team is like an aqal to them (a traditional black rope worn by men in the Middle East as part of a headdress) and they wear it like a crown and with great pride,” Waad Doulat, a Jordanian fan who was watching from a distance, told Al Jazeera.

Ahmed, Mahmoud and Taiba Dolaat at Souq Waqif, Doha (Hafsa Adil/Al Jazeera)
Ahmed, Mahmoud and Taiba Dolaat at Souq Waqif, Doha (Hafsa Adil/Al Jazeera)

Doulat and her three children, Mahmoud, Ahmed and Taiba, traveled to Qatar to support their team in its quest for a historic first Asian Cup title.

Jordan’s encounter with Qatar in the final brings excitement and relief to the Dolat family.

“We came here with great hope that our team will win, but even if they don’t we will not be bitterly disappointed because we love Qatar too,” she said.

As if on cue, the crowd turned its attention towards the competitors.

“It’s better to have family or friends (in the final) than a stranger,” the men sang.

Mahmoud, 10 years old, was afraid that his team would feel the heat of playing in front of tens of thousands of Qatari supporters.

“I hope they don’t feel pressure and I hope the ruling is fair,” he joked.

For Qatar fans, the final brings back memories of four years ago when they faced all odds to lift their first Asian Cup title in the UAE.

“I started following this team after winning the Asian Cup in 2019,” Abdullah Al-Qahtani told Al Jazeera as Jordanians walked around Souq Waqif from one end to the other.

Al-Qahtani praised the newly appointed Qatar national team coach, Marquez Lopez, and the players who succeeded in changing their fortunes after a poor performance in the World Cup on home soil more than a year ago.

“Al Annabi will win tonight and we will travel all over Qatar to celebrate – from Lusail to Katara and Souq Waqif,” he said.

While the younger generation will take to the streets, older fans will likely watch the match from home.

Special arrangements will be made in the majlis of each country house – an area of ​​the house or a separate building attached to the house used for all kinds of gatherings, from daily lounging to more important events by the men of the house.

Larger screens will give way to smaller screens, and a wide range of snacks and hot drinks will be served to tight-knit groups of friends and family.

If Qatar wins, celebrations are likely to continue until the early hours of the morning.

Despite being the home team, Annabi will have to endure the clamor of thousands of starchy fans who live in Qatar or have traveled from around the world to watch the match in Lusail.

Muhammad Yazidi Al-Shobaki made a 600-kilometre (372-mile) trip from Riyadh to support the young people who bring them “enormous joy.”

Muhammad said: “The team has a special talent, and when it combines it with the will to fight on the field to bring joy to the hearts of the Jordanian people, that makes them heroes in our eyes.”

The brothers do not have a ticket to the final, but they came to Doha anyway to enjoy the atmosphere.

“We heard that the Champions Parade will be in Lusail, so we will be there – waiting to see the boys walk off the field as Asian champions,” Al Yazidi said.

Mohammed (left) and Yazeedi (right) Alshobaki of Jordan at Souq Waqif, Doha (Hafsa Adil/Al Jazeera)
Jordan fans Mohammed (left) and Yazeedi (right) at Souq Waqif, Doha (Hafsa Adil/Al Jazeera)

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