Qatar ‘Al Wakrah’ stadium — the 2022 World Cup venue designed by the late Zaha Hadid — has been inaugurated, on May 16, 2019. Staging a prestigious domestic cup final in the $575 million, 40,000-capacity venue.
The ground, structured by late British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid and situated in a beachfront town south of Doha, erupted into cheers as Emir Cup finalists Al-Sadd and Al-Duhail ran onto the pitch. There was traffic all over the centre and tight security checks as the ground, which was almost full for the esteemed fixture, started to fill ahead of Cup clash.
“I’ve travelled to the far corners of the world and I’ve been to stadium in different cities including the UK,” said Yousef al-Jaber, a 35-year-old oil research executive from Doha. “Finally I was able to go to one in Qatar that is world-class,” added the Chelsea fan who watched the game with his wife and two sons.
“It’s exceptional, it’s a futuristic design. Al-Wakrah is a waterfront city and the design is motivated by that.”
Qatar’s emir Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani tweeted on his verified account ahead of the kick-off that the ground’s name would be changed to “Al Janoub stadium” signifying “arena of the south“.
The stadium’s particular retractable rooftop – intended to take after the sails of a traditional dhow angling bowl – is made of 1,400 pieces and was transported to Qatar from Italy. It was plunged into darkness for the pre-match show and entertainers gathered around a giant illuminated inflatable pearl on the centre of the manicured pitch.
it is worth it
A video depicting the Gulf country’s history as a pearling station played on the ground’s two major screens. The pearl at that point gradually changed into a representation of the Emir Cup trophy before a 150-in number marching band serenaded the ground.
Former Dutch international Ruud Gullit, who attended the ground’s maiden game, called it “a beautiful stadium“.
“You go on the pitch and you want to play,” said the former captain of the Netherlands side that won the European Championship in 1988. “The design is fantastic, and of course there’s the air conditioning.”
Asked about the stadium’s $575 million price tag, spectator Sunil Moorkanat, 52, said: “it is worth it“.
“It’s the whole infrastructure you have to look at. The ambience is fantastic and all the amenities,” added the engineer from India who has been living in Qatar for six years.
Authorities had guaranteed that the stadium would be “one of the loudest stadium” on the planet on account of its structure. Groups of fans, a considerable lot of whom wore flawless white Qatari thobes, drummed and sang as Al-Sadd held Al-Duhail to a strained 1-1 stalemate at half-time.
Of the eight stadiums, Qatar is building or renovating for 2022 World Cup, Khalifa International stadium was at that point open and will host 2019 World Athletics Championships. Al-Wakrah, 15 kilometres south of the capital Doha, will be used in the World Cup matches up to and including quarter-finals.
The stadium capacity will be reduced to 20,000 after the global soccer exhibition, the ground was one of Hadid’s last significant design before her demise in March 2016, aged 65.
“Hadid would have loved to be here – but her soul is,” included Al-Jaber, the spectator.
The stadium project has not been without debate and Hadid made a fruitful lawful move after it was claimed she couldn’t have cared less about the rights of workers associated with its development.