Qatar-based supporter Lee Juho shares his excitement ahead of this year’s tournament
‘Qatari culture is all about welcoming people’
Maria Fernanda Borloz says Costa Rica fans are ready to share their ‘pura vida’ culture at this year’s FIFA World Cup™
On 14 June at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Costa Rica became the 32nd and final team to qualify for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ when they defeated New Zealand in an intercontinental play-off. The result was received with joy and happiness in the Central American country – and among thousands of Los Ticos fans who attended the match.
Among those supporters was Doha-based Maria Fernanda Borloz. The Heredia native, who currently lives in Al Muntazah, has spent the past year in Qatar working as a flight attendant.
Borloz, 30, believes Costa Rica fans are ready to contribute plenty of colour and passion to this year’s FIFA World Cup™.
What was it like to witness Costa Rica’s qualification for Qatar 2022?
Honestly, it was one of the best days of my life, a dream come true. I was with colleagues from India, Pakistan and Qatar, all supporting my team, which was beautiful. There were also friends of mine here from Costa Rica, so it was an amazing night.
We saw how passionate the Costa Rica fans are in June – what can we expect from Los Ticos supporters during the World Cup?
We will be supporting our team, everywhere it goes, and everyone will be able to experience our ‘pura vida’ culture, which means ‘pure life’. Costa Rica fans are very lively and like to enjoy these experiences as much as possible. It’s not a secret that Costa Rica was called one of the happiest countries in the world, so we are looking forward to sharing our passion and joy here in Qatar.
What advice would you give fellow Costa Rica fans about the country and the region?
I recommend they research a little bit to learn about the culture here, in order to be respectful of Qatar’s customs and traditions. From my experience, the lifestyle here is much like home, so there is nothing to be afraid of. It’s important to try and embrace Qatari culture because it’s all about welcoming people. Qataris love to meet new people.
Los Ticos will play their group matches at Al Thumama Stadium, Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium and Al Bayt Stadium. How much are you looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere at these stadiums?
I expect it will be very emotional for Costa Rica fans, as these are top stadiums that we will get to see our team play in. I had a chance to be at Al Bayt Stadium for the FIFA Arab Cup final last year, so I know we will enjoy being there. Costa Rica fans will be mesmerised by these huge venues because we are not used to such big stadiums back home.
What are some interesting things about Qatar that people may not be aware of?
There is a lot of expat culture here, which is very welcoming. The lifestyle here is great – there are many opportunities for personal and professional growth. I also feel there is a misconception about the heat – people think it is always very hot. But in November and December – when the matches will be played – the temperatures are very nice and it can get cool in the evenings.
What are the ‘must-see’ places in Qatar?
For the authentic Qatari experience, I would say to visit Souq Waqif. There, you can find all the culture of the country and region in one place, from food to handmade crafts. You can also find the falcon souq near there, which is something very unique to this country. I would also recommend The Pearl, which is an amazing place and beautiful to see. This includes Qanat Quartier, which is a Venice-inspired neighbourhood full of beautiful outdoor cafes and restaurants. I also recommend Katara Cultural Village, which I think is one of the best spots to visit here.
What would you encourage Costa Rica fans to do on non-matchdays?
One of the most enjoyable things that I got to experience with my family was dune bashing in the desert. It was a very fun experience, and by World Cup time, the weather will be really nice to do it. Riding a camel is another unique thing you can do here, while sand boarding is also a lot of fun. Doing activities out in the desert is a great way to disconnect from the rigours of modern life. I also think the shopping malls are interesting to visit, especially Villaggio Mall, which is one of my favourites.
This will be the sixth FIFA World Cup™ appearance for Costa Rica, with their best performance coming at Brazil 2014 when they reached the quarter-finals. How did you think Los Ticos will perform at Qatar 2022?
I believe we have a chance to make it through the group stage because we have a solid team with players like Joel Campbell, Keylor Navas and Bryan Ruiz, who have a high profile, plus some new players like Anthony Contreras. They have been playing together for a long time, so I feel we’re ready to do well at the World Cup.
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