‘Football is our source of happiness’
There was an electric atmosphere during the Palestine versus Comoros match at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium last week. The FIFA Arab Cup™ qualifier attracted thousands of passionate fans, including Palestine supporter Mohammed Abdel Hadi.
Mohammed led celebrations throughout the match as Palestine claimed an emphatic 5-1 victory to book their place in the FIFA Arab Cup™, which will take place in Qatar later this year.
While being filmed by qatar2022.qa, Mohammed discussed his passion for football and his devotion to the Palestine team.
“I often don’t sleep the night before a big match,” said Mohammed, 31. “I stay up thinking about the team and try to mentally prepare myself. I like to make sure all the fans from my community are excited and bring great energy to the game.”
Mohammed’s passion for football can be traced back to his home country, where almost everyone is fanatical about the sport.
“My love for football stems from my country’s love for the game,” said Mohammed, who moved to Qatar in 2012. “Everyone plays it on the street and in the neighbourhoods. When we were kids, we used rocks for goalposts.”
Mohammed, who works as a civil engineer, said football is a healing mechanism for Palestinians in the midst of near-constant conflict.
“The game is very popular back home, despite the difficult conditions. Football is our source of happiness. It distracts us from all the terror we witness every day. It puts a smile on everyone’s face,” said Mohammed.
Palestine’s crushing win means they will return for the FIFA Arab Cup™ in December. They will face Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Jordan in Group C, with the matches set to be played at Qatar 2022 stadiums.
Mohammed believes the tournament – which is being held exactly a year before the FIFA World Cup™ – will unite the region.
“We are all so proud of the Palestine team. Despite all the struggles they are facing, they still managed to get here and perform well. Everyone is looking forward to them returning for the Arab Cup – I have no doubt it will be a great tournament that brings everyone together.”
Mohammed is also looking forward to the World Cup and is confident Qatar will host an unforgettable version of football’s showpiece event.
“It will be the best tournament,” said Mohammed. “The development and prosperity that Qatar has witnessed will make this tournament an exceptional one.”