Fans at Al Bidda park were able to connect with fellow football lovers from around the world -including the besieged Gaza Strip – using the ‘Doha Portal’.
The Al Bidda Park joined the local and global celebrations of the World Cup, uniting populations across the world on the kickoff date of the major sports event.
People from all over the world waved their flags, each dressed up from head-to-toe in their favourite teams’ colours as they watched the match between Qatar and Ecuador.
The vibrant spirit of the World Cup seeped through the geographic boundaries between Qatar and the rest of the globe, with the help of Doha Debates’ digital portal at the park.
Located inside the FIFA Unity Pavilion, the Doha Portal bridges all geographic distances between Doha and international communities.
Together with Shared_Studios, the portal utilises technology to enable fans in Qatar to hold conversations with young people living across the world, connected by a camera and a monitor.
The portal is able to connect people in Doha with others in the besieged Gaza strip, Iraq, Uganda, Rwanda, the United States, Bangladesh, Brazil, Mexico, and other countries.
Doha News had a conversation all about sports with two teenagers in Mexico; Rafa, 18, and Lilo, 19. The two shared their World Cup excitement as they root for their country Mexico. Both are even pursuing degrees in sports journalism and are currently learning about the industry’s history.
Earlier, visitors got to speak to Palestinians under siege, breaking their isolation from the world, further highlighting the true essence of the World Cup in uniting people all over the world.
Full of festivities
The Al Bidda Park is hosting the FIFA Fan Festival throughout the tournament, with a large monitor for thousands to watch football matches live.
Several booths of Qatari entities are set up, introducing visitors to the Gulf state’s rich culture, diverse education, and its role in promoting humanity in the sports industry.
The festival was buzzing with thousands of people during the tournament’s opening ceremony.
Crowds roared as American actor Morgan Freeman made his surprise appearance, and were left in awe as they watched the integration of Qatari culture throughout the ceremony.
In yet another exciting part of the event, visitors got to listen to the latest World Cup song, Dreamers, by K-Pop superstar Jung Kook and Qatari artist Fahad Al Kubaisi.
Whistles and cheers echoed all over the fan zone as Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani proudly presented his country to the rest of the world.
One visitor clad in Mexican gear had one comment to Doha News: “It’s awesome.”
“I think it’s great that you show us your culture and everybody can learn about it,” said his fellow Mexican fan.
One proud Lebanese visitor told Doha News: “It was amazing, very heartwarming especially that I’m an Arab.The fact that they’re trying to make everyone seen that they’re welcoming […]it was amazing.”
Another Lebanese who flew to Qatar from Canada the night before gleefully said: “It’s good to come back and see everything finished and this event coming to life. I’m very proud of Qatar.”