As the group stages at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup AFC Qualifier Qatar draw to a close on Wednesday at Katara Beach, vital matches have been won and lost and some spectacular goals scored along the way. But while fans have been waving flags and painting their faces in a whole array of different colours, there is one thing everyone agrees on – the fantastic time they have had in the adjacent Fan Zone put on by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC).
One of those to attend the SC’s Fan Zone was Nasser Al Dossari, who said: “We’re here having a great time, as you can see with my kids playing foosball. I’m Emirati and my wife is Qatari, and we’re here to watch and support these two teams while also having a fun time. This fan zone is great.”
The Fan Zone is operational each match day and includes inspirational sand sculpture artists who put on popular workshop for kids, a mini beach soccer field and beach soccer workshops, a speed shot booth, a kick distance shot, soccer tricks shows, a Batak reaction wall, football tables, instant photo booths, face painting, freestylers, drummers and concession stands with a variety of delicious foods and snacks. There is also a large central display of art produced by children from local communities as part of the SC’s Jeeran programme.
While some youngsters engaged in games of beach soccer on the mini-pitch, others took the opportunity to learn more about the sport, while it is also a great warm-up area before heading over to the stadium to follow the action on the sand.
Bella from Russia commented: “It is very well organised, and a great place for teenagers to hang out and learn more about football. It is also a nice chill-out for teenagers. I support Lebanon at this tournament and I think the organisers have done a really good job.”
For young children visiting the fan zone, an extremely popular area of congregation has been the sand-castle clinic, where incredible sand-buildings are seen coming up with the help of the experts supporting the children.
“The fan zone is very nice, I think the kids are enjoying it a lot, and the tournament is really good because between the games people have a place to have fun. The fan zone completes the tournament,” said Japan coach Marcelo Mendes.
While his team is among the favourites to go all the way in the tournament, there is no doubt that everyone who has attended the matches at Katara Beach has come out a winner so far.