Ecuadorian Fans Ask for Beer

* Special envoy to Doha, Qatar

Anyone who has ever witnessed a World Cup event will know the sensation of a magical atmosphere that is experienced before, during and after a match of this magnitude. There was color, there was fervor and the particular reactions of the local fans in the inaugural duel between Qatar and Ecuador in the magnificent Al Bayt stadium.

The first question that arose on the way to the pitch was the temperature: would the air conditioners turn on despite the relatively cool and windy night in the remote town of Khor, far from central Doha? Those who attended with long pants and a coat were correct: the vents located under the seats did not stop blowing cold air for a minute, causing the bare ankles and calves of each of the spectators to freeze. The general cooling was unnecessary, it will surely be more appropriate when the venues host matches in earlier shifts when the sun is still shining.

The witty Ecuadorians did not hesitate to sing: “Turn off the air, turn off the air!”, accusing the fresco that circulated through the stands that were depopulating as the minutes were consumed, since the Arabs could not bear the defeat and began the withdrawal from the middle of the complement. And before, the tricolors They had already raised another claim after Enner Valencia’s goal cries: “We want beer, we want beer!”. By order of the organizers and local authorities, only non-alcoholic beer was sold at a price of 30 Qatari riyals (about $8.24). The rest of the drinks (water, soft drinks, black tea and the local qaraq were around 15-20 riyals).

The public packed at halftime of the match between Qatar and Ecuador to buy drinks and food
The public packed at halftime of the match between Qatar and Ecuador to buy drinks and food

As for meals, they were offered at vending machines throughout the stadium with fatay with spinach, meat or cheese (15 riyals, about $4), chicken shawarma (30 riyals, about $8.24), sausages, and mixed nuts. (25 riyals, about $6.80), vegan sticks and sweet fried dough called luqaimat (from 17 riyals, about $4.63), popcorn and packaged potato chips (10 riyals, or about $2.72). . It was striking that many of the attendees left bottles of water and soda practically intact, food remains and commemorative glasses in the stands.

Following the dispute that arose from Chile’s claim based on the alleged misuse of soccer player Byron Castillo during the South American Qualifiers, there was a reminder for the fans of that nationality. “And you see it, and you see it, it’s for Chile that watches it on TV”the Ecuadorians intoned rhythmically, who later -and repeatedly- went for more: “Poropopó, poropopó, the one who doesn’t jump is a Chilean fagot.”

Those who were able to access one of the Category 1 seats of the stadium Al Bayt, they took commemorative souvenirs in a frizelina bag that was placed on their armchair. It contained a blanket (with which several covered themselves to combat the coolness caused by the air conditioners), an earring, a bracelet, a small perfume with a kind of branch (local symbol), a shirt that emulated the first one worn by the selected Qatari and the inevitable mascot La’eeb made puppet.

The welcome kit for Category 1 spectators
The welcome kit for Category 1 spectators


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