Souq Waqif becomes hub of football fan activity

The traditional market, Souq Waqif, is no doubt among the preferred tourist destinations in the country, even before the World Cup started.

People from all over the world have been flocking the area to experience Qatar the old way. With the biggest sporting event happening, it has become the hub of fan activity. 

Hundreds of people especially international football fans have been flocking to Souq Waqif, famous for its mud-daubed buildings. For the past weeks, fans have been visiting the area to cheer on their team at the historical market, all clothed with the country they are supporting, armed with their trumpets and sometimes drums.

Rodrigo from Argentina who’s proudly wearing the Argentine Football Association jersey while holding a colossal Qatari flag said he along with his other three friends arrived yesterday at 5am at Hamad International Airport. “I love Souq Waqif, it’s very interesting.” 

Various football fans are seen roaming and checking different stalls at Souq Waqif. Most of the Arabian restaurants are filled with tourists who wanted to try the food from the region. While there are fans from Ghana, Japan, Korea, Tunisia, and Morocco, the most dominant is from Argentina, which includes Rodrigo.

Argentina is set to play against Saudi Arabia today at Lusail Stadium at 1pm. They belong both from Group C. 

Rodrigo who’s been staying at a fan village in Barwa said he wanted to watch all of the matches where Argentina will be playing. The first game of Argentina is today with Saudi, and against Mexico on November 26, and against Poland on November 30.

If they win all of these matches, they will go to pre-quarter finals.

“We have ticket matches and I hope we can stay here until the finals, I hope Argentina play the finals. You know it depends on Argentina and [Lionel] Messi (the star player of La Albiceleste), because if we continue the tournament, I will stay here, if we lose, we’ll go back but first I’ll be touring around Qatar and support the World Cup. In two to three weeks, I will go all over Qatar,” Rodrigo said.

Saad from Saudi Arabia is visiting Qatar for the fourth time, he is accompanied with his other three friends. He said that Souq Waqif has changed drastically from the last time he came. “It’s completely different, it’s filled with people and fans, everybody is having fun, it’s amazing.” An Arab, he said that he is glad that the World Cup is happening in Qatar. “This is good because we can show them our Arab heritage and they will get introduced to our culture.” The 31-year old tourist said he is hoping that his country will win tomorrow against Argentina although it will be a challenging game for them. He also planned to go around Qatar, especially the Corniche, the museums, beaches and malls.

There’s a lot Souq Waqif can offer — riding a camel, pony, or a horse, holding a falcon, or visiting various historical and modern landmarks, Camel and Horse stables, Craft Centre, Souq Waqif Art Center, Souq Waqif Falcon Hospital, The Golden Thumb statue, Pigeon Square and Gardens or one can try the cupping therapy.

Juan and Luis from Mexico who visited the Perfume Souq said they find it interesting to try the Arabic perfume. “It has a unique scent different from the usual we are having back home, it’s quite captivating,” said Luis. Souq Waqif is open to everyone and is not limited to Hayya card holders.