Gulf Cup: 35,000 tickets already sold as Doha braces for Qatar 2022 ‘drill’
The Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the Arabian Gulf Cup 2019 is preparing to deliver the most memorable edition of the upcoming regional tournament, which is expected to see packed stadiums owing to the overwhelming response to ticket sales.
The eight-nation tournament begins on November 26 with the Asian champions and hosts Qatar scheduled to take on Iraq in the opening game at the Khalifa International Stadium (KIS) – one of the eight FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 venues.
Yesterday, the LOC of the Gulf Cup held a press conference at (KIS) informing about extensive arrangements being made for the 13-day event, which is expected to be the most thrilling edition in long history of the competition.
LOC Director of Marketing, Khalid Al Kuwari; LOC Director of Venue Operations and Overlay, Jassim Al Jassim; MoCS Director of Culture and Arts Department, Hamad Mohammed Al Zakiba; Stadium Traffic Leaders – First Lieutenant, Ali Rashid Al Ateeq and First Lieutenant, Salem Mubarak Al Buainain, spoke on the occasion.
While expressing his delight in the response of ticket sales, Al Kuwari said the organizers will leave no stone unturned in making the event a huge success.
“Around 35,000 tickets for all the matches are already sold. In terms of numbers, Qatari fans bought the most tickets followed by enthusiasts from Kuwait and Oman respectively. The tickets are still available at the major malls, Katara and online. I urge fans to buy tickets as soon as possible to avoid the last-minute rush,” Al Kuwari said yesterday.
“There will be lots of activities at both the stadiums and I am sure fans will enjoy the atmosphere in around the tournament. It is a very important tournament for all the Qataris and I appeal to all Qatar fans as well as enthusiasts from other participating countries to come and support their players,” he added.
Al Jassim, meanwhile, said apart from exciting action on the turf, fans will enjoy plenty of other entertainment programs that will be held during the tournament.
“This is the first time that the Gulf Cup is taking place at a World Cup venue. So we are trying to hold operations like a drill for the World Cup 2022 for this tournament, which is very close to our hearts as Qataris and as Gulf nationals. People who want to get the feeling of Qatar 2022 can come and attend the matches during the Gulf Cup,” said Al Jassim.
“There will be a fan zone where musical performances for fans will be arranged. There will be majalis and many other pre-match activities. The activities will start with the gate opening at 4.30 pm. As many as 900 mostly volunteers will be working for the activities and I promise everyone it will be fun and very nice,” he said before adding: “Promotion for the tournament is already in full swing and mascot’s ‘Sodefi’ trips to Oman and Kuwait were highly successful.”
On his part, Al Buainain said Traffic Police Department will make all-out efforts to ensure smooth traffic and facilitate the fans.
“We advise fans to come early to avoid inconvenience because the match days will be very crowded. There will be enough parking spaces as we have slots for 10,000 cars. Fans can use QR codes on tickets to check their designated parking area. Fans can also use Doha Metro Gold Line which will be very convenient,” said Al Buainain.
The participating teams for the Gulf are divided into two groups. Besides, hosts Qatar and Iraq, Group A also includes UAE and Yemen, while Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain form Group B.
Iraq arrived in Doha on Wednesday and have started training yesterday ahead of their opener against the home side. The final of the event will be played on December 8.
By Fawad Hussain I The Peninsula
Edited by Black Coffee