Al Janoub Stadium, a football fan’s delight
Spectators marvel at the facilities and ambience that Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakra has to offer.
It was the big match. A mouth-watering encounter. Al Sadd vs Duhail. What more could a Qatari football fan have asked for? A great stadium possibly. That’s exactly what they got. Even before the kick-off of the AFC Champions League encounter last Tuesday, the Al Janoub Stadium took the spectators’ breath away. As the fans made the short walk to the entrances from the car parks, they were impressed by the amazing structure.
“It’s a fantastic stadium. It looks great,” said Anwar, a Duhail fan. The imposing dhow-shaped exterior was not the only striking thing about the stadium. The green spaces around the synthetic walking tracks had their own charm. Families with toddlers, children and a bunch of Qatari youngsters, who reached the venue early, were playing on the grass or sitting on the benches lining the park-like area. But many fans, who came just before the match started, missed the sight as they rushed towards to the turnstiles to find good seats.
If the landscape that surrounds the stadium made for a pretty sight, a breathtaking scenario awaited inside. The 40,000 capacity, two-tier gallery, the vast spread of lush green turf and a sudden refreshing feeling, thanks to the innovative cooling technology, were all welcoming. And even as the AFC flag was brought out onto the pitch before kickoff, the accompanying introductory music over an impressive sound system made one’s hair stand on end.
For the nine thousand-odd fans, the visit to Qatar’s newest football landmark indeed was worth the while. Even the 25-minute drive from Doha or a taxi ride from the nearby residential hubs of Al Wakra were not a dampener. Hamad, an Al Sadd fan, summed up his takeaway as well as that of many others from his visit to the stadium. “It’s great to watch football here. I don’t mind the drive from Doha. It’s just about 25 minutes,” he said.
The venue got a thumbs up from Al Sadd coach Xavi too.
“The pitch is great – World Cup, Champions League level. The stadium is fabulous,” he said.
Indeed, it was an emphatic endorsement from fans and a revered former international. And in a sense, an invitation to more delightful encounters with the beautiful game in a fabulous atmosphere and wonderful surroundings.