Fifa World Cup: Dubai residents who 'won the lottery' make arrangements to fly to Qatar

Fans tell us how they arrange to attend one of the world's biggest sporting events



Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP
by

Nasreen Abdulla

Published: Tue 22 Nov 2022, 3:54 PM

Last updated: Tue 22 Nov 2022, 4:14 PM

From travelling solo to fervently praying their team makes it to the semifinals that they bought a ticket for – several Dubai residents are making their own set of arrangements to go watch the Fifa World Cup in Qatar.

Ashley Williams is excited about meeting up with his father and brother. “My dad flies into Dubai on Wednesday and then together we will go to Qatar on Friday to meet my brother there,” he said. “We are staying there for four days and watching four matches.”

Ashley (extreme left) with his father and brother
Ashley (extreme left) with his father and brother

Originally from Wales, Ashley is thrilled that they will be able to watch their home country take on Iran in the Group B clash on Friday. “As much as I would like to hope Wales will lift the cup, I think there is a more realistic chance of Brazil winning the tournament this year,” he said.

For Ashley, it was an opportunity too good to miss. Watching the Fifa World Cup with his family meant he began planning for it several months in advance. “My father and I are huge football fans and as a kid, we used to get the season pass to watch all the games together,” he said.

“Watching a Fifa World Cup has always been on my dad’s bucket list. So as soon as I heard that Qatar would be hosting, I knew I had to book tickets. I entered the first lottery system and got tickets for four matches. I then booked the tickets and stay in Qatar at least six months ago. Compared to some of my friends who have been booking tickets now, I got it about 50 per cent cheaper.”

Dubai resident Sani Yas had a request when KT spoke to him. “Please ask the readers to pray that Argentina finish top of their group,” he said. Having snagged a ticket for the quarter final match on December 3. The game sees the top team of Group C face off with the team placed second in Group D, the diehard Argentina fan is hoping to watch his favourite Messi play live in action.

“If Argentina is not placed first in their pool, I will probably be crying on my way there,” he said. Group C includes Argentina, Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia.

Sani wearing the jersey of his favorite team
Sani wearing the jersey of his favorite team

Sani is planning to travel to Qatar with a group of friends by car. “We have all applied for our Saudi and Qatar visas and have charted out a map,” he said. “There are four of us and we will all take turns driving. The plan is to park the car at the border and take shuttle buses to the stadium. We are planning to return on the same day.”

Flancie Cenia Fernandes is excited for the Fifa World Cup and is cramming in as much action as she can in her 24 hours at Qatar. “I am travelling solo by plane on December 2 and I am watching two matches there,” she said. “I will watch the Portugal- Korea match at 7pm and then head to the Brazil-Cameroon match at 10pm. Brazil and Portugal are my favorite teams and with it possibly being Cristiano Ronaldo’s last World Cup, I couldn’t afford to miss it.”

Flancie at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro
Flancie at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro

The football fan said she did all her bookings in July. “I have always watched every single World Cup from as early as I can remember with my dad,” she said. “With the matches coming so close to me, I knew that I had to travel to Qatar and watch it live. So, I prepared well in advance for it.”

Friends Lijoy, Faisal and Ashif who studied in school together in Abu Dhabi got their tickets in the second phase of the allotment to watch Germany play Costa Rica on December 1.

Lijoy (left) will be travelling with his childhood friend Faisal (right) and Ashif
Lijoy (left) will be travelling with his childhood friend Faisal (right) and Ashif

For the trio, their plans kept changing as Qatar announced updates to its entry policies. “Our first plan was to drive there,” said Lijoy, the person in-charge of doing all the research. “Then when new rules were announced, we decided to go by bus. However, when the shuttle flights were announced, I did a quick calculation and found out that taking a flight was the most cost-effective option as it would also save us a lot of time.”

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