One of the most exuberant groups of supporters are the Saudi fans, whose enthusiasms and vocal support for the national football team can be seen at various places in Doha. The Saudis have come to Qatar in large numbers to cheer on their team. Singing, chanting and dancing -- they are ensuring that the Green Falcons - as the Saudi team is known -- have their full support both in stadiums and beyond.
Pumped up following their team's stunning victory over the mighty Argentina, the fans are looking forward to another stellar Saudi performance -- this time against Poland. The Group C match takes place at Education City Stadium at 4pm Saturday. Be it Souq Waqif, Katara, fan zones or metro stations, the Green Falcons fans could be seen singing and cheering for their team everywhere. “We have every reason to celebrate in Doha. We had a historic win against Argentina. The weather is good and the ambiance is exciting,” Saudi fan Mohamed al-Mutairi told Gulf Times.
Hailing from capital Riyadh, al-Mutairi came to watch Saudi’s first match in the group stage against Argentina. After the win, al-Mutairi and his friends decided to stay in Doha to explore the city. The Saudi fan said many of his friends are expected to come to Doha to join the festivities. Many fans opt to visit Saudi House (Al Bayt Al Saudi), which is open daily from noon until midnight at the Doha Corniche. The Saudi Football Association set up Saudi House on an area of 18,000sqm featuring 10 pavilions and some 21 events. It was done with the aim of enriching the fan experience and introducing the Saudi culture, while also showing support for the Saudi national team.
"Saudi House is at the centre of our celebrations and everybody wants to spend some time there for our nation,” said Azzam al-Muneef while heading there on the Doha Metro.
Saudi House allows visitors of all nationalities to participate in the events from noon until midnight. Visitors can enjoy the experience of playing football with top players virtually in the Dream Pavilion through augmented reality and virtual reality. Also, a number of Saudi artistes are performing on the Saudi House stage.
Al-Muneef, who is staying in Doha with his brother, said his friends and relatives will soon join them to feel the football fever.
Mowasalat (Karwa) has made all arrangements to transport Saudi fans from the Abu Samra border to the stadiums and Doha. On its part, the Ministry of Interior has made all arrangements to welcome World Cup fans at the Abu Samra border where up to 4,000 travellers could be received per hour. The facilities there have been enhanced while increasing the number of immigration counters and setting up elaborate parking facilities that can be used free for 24 hours.
At Saudi House. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed
Saudi fans at Souq Waqif. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Saudi fans during the Corniche celebrations. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Young fans at Saudi House. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed