Younis Mahmoud: ‘All Iraqis are proud of the beautiful Al Janoub Stadium’
Legendary striker lauds Qatar 2022 venue designed by fellow Iraqi Zaha Hadid
Every year on 31 October, people celebrate Zaha Hadid’s birthday by remembering the many contributions the late Iraqi-British architect made to her field. Hadid’s signature style will be on display during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ with Al Janoub Stadium, a 40,000-capacity venue that she designed shortly before her death.
The stadium’s captivating design reflects the wind-filled sails of Qatar’s traditional dhow boats – in tribute to Al Wakrah’s seafaring heritage. For Iraqi legend and Qatar Legacy Ambassador Younis Mahmoud, the stadium is claimed with pride by millions of his compatriots and will act as a gateway to a world of cultural activities planned for the tournament.
“In my opinion, Al Janoub is an Iraqi stadium. Although Iraq didn’t qualify for the World Cup, Iraqis are proud to have this beautiful stadium designed by an Iraqi architect. They see it as personifying their contribution to the first World Cup in the Arab world,” said Mahmoud, who played for Al Wakrah Sports Club towards to the end of his storied career.
“I have so many beautiful memories of Al Wakrah. Having played in the city, and in Qatar for so long, I’ve made so many friends along the way and got to know the area very well. The stadium features the blue colours of the seashore and is a perfect reflection of what the city has to offer,” added Mahmoud.
Qatar 2022 will be the most compact edition of the tournament in modern history, with the longest distance between stadiums just 75km. Al Janoub Stadium, located 22km south of central Doha, will be connected by a robust transportation system.
“Fans who witness this architectural masterpiece will experience everything that Al Wakrah and the surrounding area has to offer. This includes the old market, similar to Souq Waqif, the Doha Corniche, and even the sand dunes of Sealine, which are only 45 minutes away,” said Mahmoud.
Surrounding Al Janoub Stadium are recreational facilities that will serve the community long after the tournament ends. These including parks, running tracks and local eateries.
“This stadium will leave a long-lasting legacy for the community and the Al Wakrah football team. For fans attending matches here during the World Cup, they will be awestruck by the beauty of a stadium designed by a remarkable architect. The stadium will be a symbol for the rich talent this region has and will be remembered for generations to come,” said Mahmoud.
Al Janoub Stadium will host seven matches during this year’s FIFA World Cup™, starting with the Group D clash between reigning champions France and Australia on 22 November.