’80,000 seats will not be enough for Mexico versus Argentina’
Anticipation is growing in Qatar ahead of the first FIFA World Cup™ in the Middle East and Arab world – and among those who are full of excitement is Yezenia Navarro.
The 38-year-old social media influencer and mother of three has been an active member of Qatar’s Mexican community for the past 11 years and cannot wait for matches involving El Tri at this year’s tournament, which will take place from 21 November to 18 December.
Mexico have been drawn in Group C alongside Argentina, Poland and Saudi Arabia, and many thousands of supporters are set to travel to Qatar for the tournament. Navarro believes the Arab world’s famous hospitality will make the Mexican fans in Qatar feel right at home.
What brought you and your family to Qatar back in 2011?
We came to Qatar thanks to a job opportunity and a dream. To be honest, like many people, I didn't know anything about Qatar; I didn't know even know where Qatar was located. I thought I was going to a country where I wouldn't be able to do anything and I thought my career was going to end. Little did I know, it was just the beginning for most of my goals and dreams to come true.
How did you become a social media influencer?
I studied communications at university and have a diploma in drama. In Mexico, I participated in short films, movies, soap operas, plays, fashion shows, commercials and photo sessions as an actress and model. I started to use social media to share our experiences of Qatar with my family and friends in Mexico, so I could show that the country is very safe and full of opportunities. Because of my interest in fashion, beauty, family, travel and lifestyle, my Instagram began to grow with female followers not only from Mexico, but also from this region. When I attended the 2018 World Cup in Russia, I began to share my passion for football and my number of male followers began to grow also.
How would you describe the lifestyle here in Qatar?
It is busy but fun. There is always something to do, so I never get bored. There are so many art and cultural events, as well as things you can do with your family. There are also sports and fashion events as well. For me, it’s super fun to live in Qatar, as I’m always busy. I’ve got to know many celebrities and been to many events that I never imagined I would ever go to.
Does the multicultural aspect of Qatar make the country interesting?
For me, I’ve learned from many different cultures living in Qatar. I feel that my mind is more open because I have friends from all around the world. I know that when I travel to any other country, I’ll have a place to stay, and it’s the same for my children. They have grown up in this multicultural country, where they learn to respect and accept other cultures and traditions that are different to our own.
What do you most enjoy doing here in Qatar?
I enjoy exploring Doha, meeting new people and trying the different restaurants and food because you have cuisines from all around the world. I love that Qatar is always growing, always changing, always different and that there are always new places to visit. For me, what I enjoy the most is going to events. There are always new things that are brought here for the citizens and residents to enjoy.
In your opinion, what are the ‘must-see’ places to visit in Qatar?
Every time I have a visitor from Mexico or any other country, I always take them to the National Museum of Qatar and the Museum of Islamic Art. If I have time, I go to the camel races, to the Sheikh Faisal Museum, The Pearl and Lusail. I like to go to all of the World Cup stadiums and the malls like Al Hazm and Place Vendome. I also like to go to the Corniche for a tour on a dhow boat and explore the sand dunes in the desert.
What football events have you had the opportunity to attend here in Qatar?
I loved the FIFA Club World Cup in 2019 and 2020 because we had two different clubs from Mexico in Rayados and Tigres. I love having Mexicans here in Qatar, but it was hard in 2021 because it was during the pandemic, so only local Mexicans were able to go and support Tigres. However, the FIFA Arab Cup was the biggest football event I’ve attended because we had people visit from different countries in the region, so that gave us a little taste of what the World Cup is going to be like, so that was amazing.
What advice would you give fans who are coming to Qatar for the World Cup?
My advice is not to be scared of coming here. Qatar is not like how it has been portrayed in some of the media. It is fun and the people here are very similar to Latin Americans. They are very welcoming and close to their families. If you go to any Qatari house or majlis, they will feed you until you can’t eat anymore. People should come to Qatar to enjoy the culture and traditions, while respecting the things that are different. Different is beautiful and Qatar is beautiful.
Have many family and friends in Mexico been in touch with you about staying at your house during the World Cup?
I have had so many people contacting me and wanting to stay with me but I can’t fit 100 people in my house, unfortunately. Even my friends from kindergarten that I haven’t spoken to in years have contacted me. My house will be open for my close family, like my parents and siblings, and maybe some friends as well.
Mexico will play their World Cup group matches at Stadium 974 and Lusail Stadium. Are you looking forward to taking in the atmosphere at these venues?
I’m so excited to see Mexico playing in Lusail Stadium against Argentina, as I have many friends from Argentina. I have been there and I love it. I cannot wait to see it full of fans. I don’t think 80,000 seats will be enough for that game, as Mexicans and Argentinians are really big fans of their national team.
How do you think Mexico will do at Qatar 2022?
I pray that Mexico can go far in this World Cup. Hopefully, they will get to the quarter-finals again and win this time. In football, you never know what can happen, so I hope that they do better than the previous World Cups and reach a higher level.