To mark three years to go until the start of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) and Goal Click have teamed up to tell the untold, inside story of Qatari football culture through the eyes and words of people living in the next World Cup host nation.
This "unprecedented series" features personal stories told directly by more than 30 Qataris and non-Qatari residents of the country, sc.qa reports.
Goal Click, the global football storytelling and photography project, gave each participant a disposable analogue camera to capture their football lives. The photographs and stories show the intimate realities of Qatari football culture from the perspective of workers, fans, journalists, coaches and both grassroots and professional players.
Driven by his passion for photography, participant Hamad Abdulaziz took his disposable camera to the streets of Qatar and his place of work. Abdulaziz is a football coach with Generation Amazing – a Qatar 2022 legacy project launched in 2009 by the SC.
Abdulaziz said, "If you place a football anywhere here, you will see people engaged and playing the game. It's the most popular sport in Qatar, and through photographs, we can show the world Qatar's love for football."
Meanwhile, Yezenia Navarro, a well-known member of Qatar's Mexican community, described the project as an opportunity of a lifetime. "Sometimes people say to me: 'but there is no football in Qatar'. But if they were here, they could see that everything here moves around football. Projects like Goal Click are very important to show the world what is happening in Qatar, and what is expected of the World Cup."
Geraldine Menezes, an Indian national who was born and raised in Qatar, said her images illustrate Qatar's diversity. "Qatar is a country rich in culture and it welcomes people from various parts of the world and they make Qatar their home, too. Now the world wants to know more about Qatar. They have their eyes on every new development that's taking place in sports. That truly makes me so proud to be born here and to be able to share my story with the world through photographs."
Ahead of the FIFA Club World Cup beginning in Qatar on December 11, Goal Click Qatar "reveals the true football culture of the next World Cup host nation and its deep-rooted passion for the beautiful game. It also shines a light on the country's diversity, with over 15 nationalities represented by the male and female participants", the report stated.
The series will be brought together in an exhibition at Darb Al Saai in Doha during the FIFA Club World Cup. Further details about the event, which is held to celebrate Qatar National Day, will be announced in due course.
Mead al-Emadi, the SC's Community Engagement manager, said: "Football is an integral part of people's lives – not just in Qatar but across the Middle East. It is by far the most popular sport in terms of participation. People love watching games with their family and friends.
"What I love about Goal Click Qatar is that it's from the eyes of the people. This is people in Qatar showing everyone around the world real life and our country's diversity.
"People have been asked to show what football means to them – and of course everyone comes back with something slightly different. When I saw the photos, I saw a side of Qatar that even I had never seen before. Even as a local, I saw my country in a different light. It's really genuine – and I love that."
Matthew Barrett, founder of Goal Click, said: "After the success of our Russian series before the 2018 FIFA World Cup, we wanted to get straight to work in Qatar. Goal Click gives people the power and freedom to tell their personal stories from an intimate perspective. The FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar has dominated the world of football news since 2010. But the voices of the ordinary people living and working in Qatar, local and expat, male and female, have been largely unheard."
Barrett continued, "Our photos from Qatar show a vibrant and widespread football culture and will challenge some existing perceptions of the country. Our storytellers give a raw and intimate look inside Qatari football culture, in a way that no one from outside these communities could do. It's a new and different perspective on a country which everyone has an opinion about."
Goal Click finds inspirational people to tell compelling stories about themselves, their community and their country through football – through analogue photography, film and their own words. In over 120 countries - from Sierra Leone and Iraq to the US and Brazil, Goal Click gives people the chance to tell their own story and show what football means to them.
Goal Click partners include FIFA, UEFA, COPA90 and adidas, and previous major exhibitions were held in London, Moscow, Budapest, Rio de Janeiro, Paris and Lyon.