Editor in Qatar
Editor in Qatar
The eyes of the football world on the Qatar World Cup. On the heels of divorced world stars and on the margins of big news, NOS editor Thierry Bon writes daily about what he’s going through in Doha.
Walk around the stadium before the Orange World Cup match and you’ll see the craziest, funniest and most amazing things happening right in front of you. It’s a special experience, and that’s it.
It’s about 4:30 outside Khalifa International Stadium. The sun slowly sets and creates a beautiful orange glow over the fans’ area, where the first fans from Holland and Ecuador stream.
Fans enter the Fan Zone through a massive wall of entrance gates. About the first thing they come across is a stand where you can pick up a flag for free. Left the Netherlands, right Ecuador. A surprising number of people eat both ways.
Four men walk by, all dressed in Holland’s latest uniform. They seem to be from Bangladesh. Why cheer for Orange? “Because we love the Netherlands,” someone says. And why do they love Holland so much? Another shouted: “Robin van Persie!”
A large screen stand has been set up in the fan area, in the car park in front of the stadium. There are colatins around and there are beanbags in the front rows. Qatar and Senegal are in the lead, but few people seem to be interested in that.
Cinema stimulates the audience
“Come here, sir!” The lost mime screams. He points to a huge square box in the center of the field, where fans line up. “Laeeb Hype Show” written in colorful letters on the large box.
Only inside it becomes clear what it is. A film by Laeeb, the World Cup mascot, is shown on the cinema screen. “This show is about solidarity,” Laaib told me.
In the World Cup, football fans get warm in the cinema
An employee walks past the statue and encourages the group of fans in attendance to make noise. Within three minutes you will receive instructions on how to create as much atmosphere as possible on the field.
Fan sets for sale
A family photo shoot is made a bit out of the crowd. Mother, father and three children dressed in orange: shirt, hat, wreath, glasses, flag and inflatables. To top it all off, they also have red, white and blue painted cheeks.
Turns out, the family doesn’t speak Dutch, but rather comes from the Philippines. They bought clothes, including face paint, at one of the major malls nearby. There you can buy a fan pack for each country, as they say.
“We managed to get tickets for this game and decided to embrace Holland,” says the youngest daughter. When they heard that I was from the Netherlands, they immediately invited me to a family selfie.
“Evil tv fanatic. Proud thinker. Wannabe internet trailblazer. Music specialist. Organizer. Hardcore pop culture expert.”