The incredible Al Bayt Stadium was unveiled to the world on the opening day of the FIFA Arab Cup when it hosted the match between Qatar and Bahrain. The 60,000-capacity venue – designed to resemble the traditional tents used by people across the Gulf region – sits proudly in the northern Qatari city of Al Khor as both a monument to the country’s traditions and its bright future.
Next year, Al Bayt – which means ‘the home’ in English – will host the opening match of the FIFA World Cup on November 21. The eyes of the world will be focused on this architectural masterpiece, which is certain to amaze fans from all corners of the globe when they arrive in Qatar for the 22nd edition of football’s flagship international tournament.
The people of Al Khor are immensely proud of the stadium and its surrounding facilities. The venue’s precinct has been open to the public since 2019 and covers an area larger than 30 football pitches. There are running, cycling and horse-riding tracks. There is even a space for camel riding. In addition, there are numerous restaurants and kiosks, which have helped the facility become a tourist attraction for people across the country.
Having a World Cup stadium in their own back yard is a source of great pride for Saeed al-Misnad and his daughter Fatima. Both are heavily involved in football, with Saeed working as the Technical Director for National Teams at the Qatar Football Association, while Fatima founded Qatar’s first women’s football team.
As a former national team player and coach, Saeed has witnessed first-hand the evolution of the beautiful game in Qatar – from its humble beginnings as a local league played in one stadium, to continental champions and the next host nation of the FIFA World Cup.
“I have travelled the world and I have seen many stadiums – but none of this quality and detail,” said Saeed. “More importantly, Al Bayt is not just a football stadium. It’s an entire complex that will benefit the city of Al Khor tremendously.”
“The fact the design of the stadium is inspired by a traditional tent reaffirms Qatar’s commitment to our identity and traditions for the whole world to see when they visit us during the World Cup,” said Fatima, who set up a women’s team at Al Sadd Sports Club in 2009.
Another prominent member of the local community is Mohamed al-Mohannadi. He is a former player for Al Khor, Al Sadd and the Qatar national team. He is incredibly proud that his home city and country are on the verge of hosting the World Cup.
Mohamed said: “Winning the bid to host the World Cup was a dream for the Arab region. For Al Khor to host the opening match, it is truly a dream come true. With a year to go, this dream will soon become reality. The World Cup will be a beautiful, historical moment for Al Khor, and Qatar as a whole. I cannot describe how proud I am.”
He continued: “The design of the stadium is remarkable – it represents our region’s history. Whoever came up with the idea is a genius. It is unique – everyone who attends matches here will be blown away. It is truly amazing.”
The Al Khor people, said Mohamed, are looking forward to welcoming fans from across the world in 2022.
“It used to be quiet around here but the stadium has changed the area. More people are now interested in visiting Al Khor. This stadium will contribute to the legacy of the tournament and the country. Football is a way of life here. Everyone loves the game and values it. This is a close-knit city where everyone knows one another. You have the sea and the desert. Everything is available here and the people are very friendly. This is what makes Al Khor unique. It is very difficult to leave Al Khor once you have lived here.”
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