Arab Cup gives a glimpse of 2022 World Cup in Qatar: Football-crazy fan recounts experience of watching two matches on the same day

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It’s not a very common sight to see fans watching two crucial games of a major tournament live from the venue. Especially when the two matches are semifinals and take place on the same day. Most of the times the venue of the games will be miles apart from each other, making travel virtually impossible. Maybe the only way it could happen is both matches are held at the same venue.

However, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been billed as a tournament where you can do exactly that, given all the stadiums are located within an hour’s distance from each other. In fact, with four matches happening in one day during the World Cup, watching multiple matches might not be an impossible task, provided one has the tickets.

The ongoing Arab Cup, meanwhile, has provided a glimpse of what to expect at the next year’s World Cup including its compact nature.

And one person who has taken advantage of it is a football-crazy fan called Noufal Chenthrappinni. He has watched more than 10 matches in the Arab Cup, the final of which takes place on Saturday night, including both the semifinals.

Noufal, who hails from Kerala, is passionate about the game and went to watch both the semifinals of the tournament – Egypt vs Tunisia at Stadium 974 and then Algeria vs Qatar at Al Thumama stadium.

“I’ve already watched some 10 matches in the Arab Cup. I watched both the semifinals on the same day. Algeria vs Qatar at Al Thumama and Tunisia vs Egypt at Ras Abu Aboud stadium which is now known as Stadium 974,” he told Goal.

Interestingly, the first semifinal at Stadium 974 kicked off at 7:00pm local time and the second semifinal started at 10:00pm local time. But despite there being only an hour’s gap between the two games, Noufal managed to use the metro in Doha to reach the Al Thumama stadium for the second match in time.

“I went through the metro lines. The end of the Gold Line of the metro is very near to Stadium 974. I could go to the Mushirif easily from there. We had to get on to the Red Line and then get down at a stop. From there we could get to the Al Thumama stadium through a shuttle bus service.

“It took me less than an hour to get to Al Thumama from Stadium 974 which was more than enough for me to reach before the second semifinal started. And Al Thumama is a very easy stadium to go in and watch.”

Noufal from Kerala watching an Arab Cup game

Noufal, who works in Qatar, owns a car but he says the public transport system is better to shuffle between the stadiums. He says that if you are crazy about football, watching multiple games during the 2022 World Cup will not be impossible.

“I am mad about football and that interest is why I had to watch both matches. I knew the first semifinal would be a good match and the second one involved Qatar and I had to watch it. I think people who are absolutely crazy about football will love the chance to watch multiple matches in a day during the World Cup next year,” he stated.

He also talked about the experience of watching football from stadiums built for the World Cup with features like the Advanced Cooling Tech and more. However, Noufal also said that the climate in Qatar was so pleasant at this time (World Cup next year will also be held during the same time of the year) that he felt no need for the air conditioning.

“I think the stadiums are all designed so well. Al Bayt stadium looked so good. And watching the matches there was such a great experience. The climate right now here is very cool and you don’t feel the heat at all. You don’t think about the need for air conditioning or anything like that.”

Noufal’s dream is to watch at least one match during the 2022 World Cup.

“I want to watch the World Cup matches, at least one match. To watch a World Cup match is a dream of mine. And the ticketing process is also very easy. So, I hope I can watch (a World Cup game) in Qatar.”

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