A Preview into the Inauguration of Al Thumama Stadium and the Amir Cup Final
Qatar’s premier cup competition will bring together Al Rayyan SC and Al Sadd SC in a highly anticipated clash between two of the country’s biggest clubs.
During the build-up to the final – and yet another FIFA World Cup™ milestone – qatar2022.qa spoke to three Qatar Legacy Ambassadors – Ahmad Khalil, Ibrahim Khalfan and Khalid Salman – to find out more about the significance of the competition.
Ahmad Khalil and Ibrahim Khalfan
Having played for several Qatari sides, including Al Sadd, legendary goalkeeper Ahmad Khalil knows what the tournament means to the local football community.
Qatar’s football season is not complete without the Amir Cup. It’s a tournament that brings together teams from all tiers, which makes it a true national championship.
Khalil said that every player in Qatar wants to make it to the final for a chance to shake hands with the Amir and to be recognised on such a prestigious platform.
This year, Al Thumama Stadium will host the 49th edition of the Amir Cup. The 40,000-capacity venue – designed to resemble the gahfiya head cap – is one of eight Qatar 2022 stadiums. It will host matches up to the quarter-finals stage during next year’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.
Ibrahim Khalfan, a member of the Qatar squad that made it to the final of the FIFA World Youth Championship in 1981, is looking forward to the atmosphere in the stands on the big day.
For the past few years, fans have been treated to what has become almost an annual tradition – the inauguration of a Qatar 2022 stadium during the Amir Cup. The unique design of Al Thumama and the fact (that) we are so close to the World Cup will make this game even more exciting.
Khalfan added that football fans all over Qatar are looking forward to the Amir Cup every year, but having two teams with such pedigree compete in the final this year will build the anticipation even further ahead of (the) kick-off.
Dubbed the Qatar Classico, the match-up between Al Rayyan and Al Sadd will see a number of prominent players take to the pitch. Both teams have a combined 23 titles between them and both enjoy tremendous support across the country.
Al Sadd remains the only Qatari team to have won the AFC Champions League, with the first continental title in 1989, thanks to a free-kick by Khalid Salman, which helped them beat Iraqi side, Al Rasheed, during the final.
Salman said that fans will be treated to a beautiful match, with top-class players featuring on both sides. Al Sadd boasts several best players from the Qatar national team, a squad that in the last few years has been crowned champions of Asia and have put in a good showing during the Copa America and the Gold Cup.
Salman went on to pick out which players fans should keep an eye on in the Al Rayyan line-up.
Al Rayyan is buzzing with the arrivals of James Rodriguez and Steven Nzonzi, who will add extra firepower to a team that already boasts the likes of Yacine Brahimi.
Off the pitch, both clubs are coached by FIFA World Cup™ winners. Al Rayyan coach Laurent Blanc lifted the trophy with France in 1998, while Al Sadd boss Xavi Hernandez helped Spain to glory in 2010.
As for the unique design of the stadium, all three ambassadors hail the architectural masterpiece designed by Qatari architect Ibrahim M Jaidah.
Khalfan said fans will be delighted to see that the stadium pays tribute to a piece of clothing that is worn throughout the Arab world, making everyone feel like they are a part of it. Salman agreed, saying the design has universal appeal and will resonate in the hearts and minds of everyone in the Arab world.
Khalil meanwhile, said the design is an important cultural marker for fans visiting Qatar in 2022. It will invite them to learn more about the region’s culture.
It will be great to see them make the connection between the stadium’s design and the gahfiyas worn by men and boys in the stands.
Fans interested in attending the Amir Cup Final and the inauguration of the Al Thumama Stadium on 22 October can apply for their Fan ID here: ac21.qa.
Check out Marhaba’s FREE e-Guides for everything you need to know about Qatar.