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Meet the fans: Excitement reaches fever pitch ahead of FIFA Club World Cup™ kick-off in Qatar

Qatar will host the FIFA Club World Cup™ for the second time in a row from 4-11 February – and local fans are looking forward to welcoming their teams from all over the globe.

 

Ahead of the opening match day, www.qatar2022.qa caught up with fans from Tigres UANL, Ulsan Hyundai FC, Al Duhail SC and Al Ahly SC. 

 

Tigres and Ulsan Hyundai will contest the opening match at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on 4 February (kick-off 17:00) while Al Duhail and Al Ahly will go head-to-head at Education City Stadium on the same date, kick-off 20:00. A limited number of fans will be able to attend the matches in line with Qatar’s COVID-19 protocols. Click here for ticket details.

 

Among the crowds will be four fans who are fanatical about their respective clubs. Here we meet Tigres fan Yezenia Navarro, Ulsan Hyundai supporter Juho Lee, Al Duhail SC fan Abdulaziz Al Qahtani and Hossam Abu Al Ola, a lifelong Al Ahly fan.

 

Yezenia Navarro, Tigres UANL

 

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When did you move to Qatar and what do you do there?

 

I’ve lived in Doha for ten years. Since moving here in 2011, I have been heavily involved in the Mexican community and beyond, working on various different issues, including campaigning against violence against women. Professionally, I am an actress and a content creator.

 

When did you first start supporting Tigres UANL?

 

Ever since I moved to Qatar, my passion for football has grown stronger. I started becoming very curious about clubs from Mexico, and that’s how I learned about Tigres UANL. I was particularly intrigued by the unbelievable passion their fans have for the club, and that makes me even more excited to support them when they come out to Qatar to compete in the Club World Cup.

 

Who is your favourite Tigres UANL player?

 

Without a doubt, André-Pierre ‘Dédé’ Gignac, the club’s all-time leading scorer. Since his arrival in 2015, Gignac has played a tremendous role in the club’s success. He’s definitely one of the players I look forward to seeing when the team competes in Qatar.

 

What will it mean to you to see Tigres UANL play in the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020™?

 

I’m proud and excited to see a Mexican side playing in the stunning state-of-the-art stadiums that Qatar has built ahead of the World Cup.

 

With under two years to go until the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, what should fans expect when they come over to enjoy the tournament?

 

Being the first World Cup to take place in the Middle East will offer fans a very unique insight into the region. They’ll get to enjoy all the comforts of a modern city whilst celebrating all the different parts of the region’s culture, including the food, traditions and music. And what will make the fan experience in Qatar even more exceptional is the access to a multicultural community filled with different traditions in their own right. All this, in a warm, welcoming and very safe country. It’s definitely a tournament not to be missed.

 

Juho Lee, Ulsan Hyundai FC

 

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When did you move to Qatar and what do you do there?

 

I first moved to Doha in 2017. Currently, I work at a market research firm located in the West Bay district of Doha.

 

When did you first start supporting Ulsan Hyundai FC?

 

My entire family supports the team. For me personally, my journey as a fan started in 2012, the year we won the AFC Champions League for the first time in the club’s history. The team occupies a big part of our family, where we all still gather to watch them despite being so far away from South Korea.

 

Who is your favourite Ulsan Hyundai FC player?

 

There are so many good players on the team, but I would say Yoon Bit-garam is my favourite. He acts as a playmaker for the team and was actually chosen as the Most Valuable Player at this year’s AFC Champions League for the role he played in helping the team lift the trophy.

 

What will it mean to you to see Ulsan Hyundai FC play in the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020™?

 

Even though I’ve been to many games at our home stadium in Korea, it’s rare that you get to watch your favourite team compete when you live abroad. It will be wonderful to watch them play in a competition as prominent as this.

 

With under two years to go until the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, what should fans expect when they come over to enjoy the tournament?

 

First and foremost, they will be treated to world-class stadiums that are both innovative and beautiful. But Qatar also will have a lot to offer beyond football. The wide variety of places to visit combined with the close distances between everything will definitely create a unique experience for anyone who will have the opportunity to come to Qatar for the tournament.

 

Abdulaziz Al Qahtani, Al Duhail SC

 

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When did you move to Qatar and what do you do there?

 

I’m a football lover that graduated with a university degree in marketing and management. I’m also a sports journalist and a radio programmes presenter.

 

When did you first start supporting Al Duhail SC?

 

I’ve actually been a fan of the club since its establishment. Prior to the amalgamation of El Jaish and Lekhwiya, the two clubs that merged to form Al Duhail in 2017, I was a supporter of Lekhwiya.

 

Who is your favourite Al Duhail SC player?

 

Brazilian midfielder Dudu – because he is so versatile and offers so many solutions to the club during any given match, including playmaking and putting the ball in the back of the net.

 

What will it mean to you to see Al Duhail SC play in the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020™?

 

It will make me so proud to see my club compete against the world’s best sides, and I hope that the team will represent Qatar’s name in the best way possible.

 

With under two years to go until the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, what should fans expect when they come over to enjoy the tournament?

 

They will be treated to the most exceptional edition of the tournament to-date. I would encourage them to fasten their seat belts for what will be an exciting and beautiful spectacle for the whole world to see.

 

Hossam Abu Al Ola, Al Ahly SC

 

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When did you move to Qatar and what do you do there?

 

I moved to Qatar more than 20 years ago, in March 2000. I work as a legal counsel for a contracting company and international arbitrator.

 

When did you first start supporting Al Ahly SC?

 

Like so many Egyptians, my love for Al Ahly began the day I was born. My entire family supports them. It’s a club that enjoys massive support throughout the country, thanks to their numerous local and regional achievements. It’s a club that has boasted some of Egypt’s biggest legends, and is loved throughout Africa and the Arab world. For me, my love for Al Ahly is also driven by the club’s commitment to the community, something that is central to its organisational principles.

 

Who is your favourite Al Ahly SC player?

 

For a club that has seen so many stars come through the lineup, it’s difficult to choose. But, if I had to choose one, I would pick midfielder Amr El Solia from the current lineup. Historically, it would have to be Mahmoud ‘Bibo’ El Khatib. Considered one of the greatest African players of all time, El Khatib exemplifies the spirit of excellence that runs through the club.

 

What will it mean to you to see Al Ahly SC play in the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020™?

 

Watching my favourite team in action in my second home will fill me with so much pride. It allows my two homes to meet on the football pitch. And for that to happen during an important tournament that brings together the best clubs in the world, makes it even more special.

 

With under two years to go until the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, what should fans expect when they come over to enjoy the tournament?

 

They need to prepare themselves for what will be one of the most memorable World Cups to-date, in a country that is full of life and excitement. They will witness first-hand the excellence, love and laughter that runs through everything Qatar does. During their stay, they will get to enjoy world-class landmarks, including innovative stadiums and museums, or they can unwind on the beach or go for a stroll on the Corniche. And all of this will be within a safe, very well organised atmosphere.

 

 

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