World Cup Countdown Photo Gallery


DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Finally, Qatar’s second has arrived.

In a number of weeks, the tiny emirate jutting out into the Persian Gulf will welcome the world when it hosts the most important sporting occasion to ever be staged within the Arab area. Soccer’s World Cup is coming, and with it a lot scrutiny but additionally loads of intrigue.

Qatar is utilizing the World Cup to showcase its tradition, historical past and identification for the estimated 1.2 million guests touring in for the Nov. 20-Dec. 18 match, and for the numerous extra watching on TV, too.

Like, for instance, camel racing — an emblem and hallmark of Qatari tradition and one of many oldest sports activities within the nation. Away from the glittering lights, buying malls, skyscrapers and towers in Doha, males collect earlier than dawn at a racetrack within the Al Shahaniya municipality to coach their camels for upcoming races. The camels are held by their handlers at first of the coaching train and accompanied off-track by their homeowners in automobiles to examine on their dash occasions. The camels are guided by their homeowners with a microphone and concurrently whipped by fashionable robotic jockeys fastened on their backs. The Qatari authorities has positioned a legislative ban on the apply of utilizing kids as jockeys, changing them with robots.

Not distant, Fahad Bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah awaits guests at his eco-conscious farm. The group working the Caravane Earth Foundation and Haneet Salma farm is keen to advertise moral approaches to native and revolutionary methods of farming and agriculture. The farm grows desert-friendly crops and greens and has its personal philosophy round wellness and well being. There is a platform the place Diksha, a yoga instructor from India, gathers her college students for lessons within the pure surroundings of the farm.

Tour guides are prepared to indicate vacationers the pure — and largely unknown — facet of Qatar, just like the gentle sand dunes of Khor Al Adaid Inland Sea, the place the sand and sea meet on the border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia in Mesaieed, Al Wakrah state.

Back in central Doha, The Irish Pub does a brisk commerce, with soccer on TV screens dotted across the bar and a lady performing stay music on a stage as face mask-wearing baristas serve Guinness and pour beers. Qatar, a Muslim-majority nation, has strict guidelines relating to alcohol — it could possibly solely be served in lodge eating places and bars which have licenses, and it’s unlawful to be drunk or to drink in public — however has needed to calm down its laws, with soccer followers from 31 different nations set to offer a boisterous environment on Doha’s streets.

Inside the Souq Waqif — a sprawling market in downtown Doha that’s certain to be in style with vacationers due to its eating places, cafes and shops — a falcon perches on the left wrist of man lounging on a protracted bench in entrance of his store and scrolling by way of his cellular phone. Falconry is likely one of the most prevalent sports activities in Qatar, certainly the Arabian Peninsula as an entire, and there are specialist shops run by falconers, who’ve the for-sale birds on show on their perches.

The pastime of falconry contrasts so sharply in Qatar with the phenomenon that’s soccer, with the emirate’s vistas now containing specifically constructed, futuristic stadiums for the World Cup. In entrance of the Khalifa International Stadium, a migrant employee sleeps on a bench earlier than his early-morning shift. Qatar has confronted criticism about its remedy of migrants, who’ve swelled the nation’s workforce after coming to assist construct stadiums and match infrastructure.

Migrants gathered on Doha’s well-known corniche to signify their communities 30 days forward of the World Cup. Adnan, a migrant driver from Peshawar in Pakistan, lives in a two-room condo in Al Warkah with 11 individuals. He is wanting ahead to the World Cup for financial causes.

“I will not be attending the matches unfortunately,” he says, “but this will be a great opportunity for me to make more money during the World Cup.”


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