The incredible story of the “false” Argentine fans who live in the city of the World Cup

Posted 2022/11/15 35 0

DOHA (Special envoy).- Last Friday’s image of almost three thousand Argentine fans with flags and albiceleste shirts parading along the main avenue Doha It surprised the locals and also the visitors who are already experiencing the previous one in the country of the World Cup. Although the Argentine fans are expected to be one of the most numerous, the banner that was held in the Corniche area had a particularity: most were not Argentine.

In May of this year, a curious selection of fans formed in Doha under the name Argentina Fans Qatar (AFQ). The visible head of this group is Suhail Dohakkaran, a mechanical engineer who has worked for a multinational company in Doha for ten years. “This started six months ago,” Suhail tells from the Qatari capital. “However, all of us who participate have been part of different groups of fans in Argentina for several years. My idea was to unify them and congregate them under one roof during the world cup”, he adds.

Argentina fans Fans Qatar (AFQ)
Argentina fans Fans Qatar (AFQ)

What are the requirements to participate? Being a resident of Qatar and a fan of the Scaloni team. Anyone who meets these premises can join AFQ through their accounts on social networks. For this reason, it is common to see different nationalities in each of the meetings, such as India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, where the largest number of workers and professionals working in this country come from. But there are some Qataris and also Argentines.

Argentina fans Fans Qatar (AFQ)
Argentina fans Fans Qatar (AFQ)

Suhail tells how this particular supporter came to be, who has never set foot in an Argentine stadium nor knows the main pitch anthems. “Most of the founding members are from Kerala, the southernmost state of India, where football has been celebrated and played with great passion for years,” he notes. Although their country does not have a strong soccer tradition and has never participated in a World Cup, the boys from that area of ​​the Asian giant look at themselves in the mirror of Latin American soccer, which caused fanaticism for our country but also for Brazil. There are two flags that compete with the Qatari flag in small shops and are the ones that locals wear the most: the albiceleste and the green-yellow.

In May of this year, a curious selection of fans formed in Doha under the name Argentina Fans Qatar (AFQ);  The visible head of this group is Suhail Dohakkaran, a mechanical engineer who has been working for a multinational company in Doha for ten years.
In May of this year, a curious selection of fans formed in Doha under the name Argentina Fans Qatar (AFQ); The visible head of this group is Suhail Dohakkaran, a mechanical engineer who has been working for a multinational company in Doha for ten years.Editorial LA NACION

The figure of Lionel Messi is the one that captures the most public attention for this World Cup. But Suhail maintains that his passion for light blue and white comes from much earlier. “Definitely the love for Messi is beyond words, since he is the best football player today. However, we all grew up listening to and watching Diego Maradona and his beautiful football journey through this world. But many of us also remember following figures like Gabriel Batistuta and Ariel Ortega from our childhood ”, he adds.

Argentina fans Fans Qatar (AFQ)
Argentina fans Fans Qatar (AFQ)

AFQ’s activities are not limited only to flag-waving on public roads. The group has companies that sponsor many of its actions, such as the event they organized at the beginning of the month at the Aspire stadium. Although they do not speak of figures, its organizers maintain that private financing is the main support of their activities.

Among them, the new shield stands out, which was revealed on the same day as Messi’s birthday near the clock that marks the countdown to the start of the World Cup. To promote the new membership campaign, they called in an Indian football figure, who led a massive marketing event to recruit supporters.

Another of the great moments of AFQ was to celebrate the 100 days before the start of the world cup. At that time, a hundred members traveled to the desert in all-terrain vehicles to portray the countdown in the characteristic landscape of the Persian Gulf.

Argentina fans Fans Qatar (AFQ)
Argentina fans Fans Qatar (AFQ)

To show that he is serious, there was also time for social engagement. Nearly five hundred members donated blood for a hospital in the Qatari capital.

During the days that the World Cup lasts, they plan several mega shows and parties. “We are building our own team of bands and DJ’s for our fans. We hope to meet at the Fan Fests accompanied by music and events with Argentines who come from different parts of the world”, anticipates Suhail. And he dreams of meeting what he calls “our players”, something that for him “would be a dream come true”.

Argentina fans Fans Qatar (AFQ)
Argentina fans Fans Qatar (AFQ)

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