In a cold that reaches three degrees below zero, Ali Lutf Al-Hamami follows the course of the matches in the Red Club in Dhammar, within the World Cup Championship in Qatar 2022. He is cushioning a stone on which some cartons were spread, to be a reclining that lasts for several hours in the bitter cold evenings of Dhammar.
Al-Hamami is a government employee with a great passion for sports. He comes from his house every evening to watch the matches with a few of his friends. "Sport is my soul. Even if the weather is snowy, I will come to watch the World Cup," he said. He added, in an interview with "Khuyut": "When the match starts, everyone forgets about the cold weather, and they focus only on the progress of the attacks and the movement on the play field."
Al-Hamami wears heavy clothes, covers his head and limbs, so that his body is no longer visible but his face, and believes that "the enthusiasm of the fans who attend the matches in Qatar is completely equal to the passion of those who come to watch the World Cup in the Red Club." He added sarcastically: "We and they are equal in enthusiasm and the love of football, except that there they sit on benches and we sit on the dirt in the cold and darkness.” Watching the World Cup at home is very different from watching it with hundreds of fans". Al-Hamami confirmed.
Four giant screens
Hundreds of people from the city of Dhammar come to to watch the World Cup in the dirt stadium of Najm Saba Club, which is known among the people of Dhammar Governorate as the Red Club, in the center of the city of Dhamar, after the Youth and Sports Office in Dhamar Governorate set up a giant screen, among four other screens distributed in Dhammar Governorate ( A screen in the Red Club, a screen in the indoor gym, a screen in the Sahm Warqa Club, in the Mayfa’a Ans district, and a screen in the headquarters of the Salam Maabar Club, in the Jahran district),” according to the declarations of the deputy director of the Youth and Sports Office, Taiseer Rawia.
Amidst this diverse audience, some young people found an opportunity to establish small projects and sell tea, potatoes, boiled eggs, and even fries, "watermelon seeds", and they find a demand for their goods in the event that the matches are between two strong teams.
He pointed out during his interview with "Khuyut" that: "The magic of the ball made many young people and even the elderly keen to watch the World Cup in the locations where the office put screens or in restrooms, talk clubs, and even friends' homes."
Ismail Rawya, a former athlete, believes that watching football in this atmosphere reflects the reality of Yemenis, and he told "Khuyut" that: "Despite our suffering, our passion for football and our encouragement for the teams participating in the tournament did not stop, and following the World Cup in these circumstances is exactly similar to our miserable conditions." However, Yemenis, share with the rest of the world this passion and this love." He added, "Qatar amazed us. The World Cup in an Arab land makes even a non-athlete to be a football fan."
The place is filled with motorbikes, some cars and hundreds of fans, from different age and community groups, who share the passion for football, yet everyone remains silent and watches with extreme attention to the sports commentary, screaming hysterically with every goal or the end of the match.
Amidst this diverse audience, some young people found an opportunity to establish small projects and sell tea, potatoes, boiled eggs, and even fries, "watermelon seeds", and they find a demand for their goods in the event that the matches are between two strong teams, as the driver of one of the motorcycles, called Ali Al-Matari, stated.
Al-Matari added, in a brief interview with "Khuyut": "With the high prices of Qat due to the dryness in winter season, young people rush to watch the World Cup and suffice with light meals and eat some pastries instead of Qat, such as watermelon seeds, while watching the World Cup matches."
According to the Dhammari blogger, Ali Abdullah Al-Dhayani, the number of rest house cafes that broadcast the World Cup exceeds 30, spread throughout the neighborhoods and streets of the city of Dhmamar and its neighborhoods, but the entrance fees varies between (400) and (1000) riyals per person.
Therefore, many football fans go to watch the World Cup on free screens, in the Red Club or the closed hall. He pointed out that the fans' passion for the World Cup makes them forget about the coldness and darkness, and even stand or sit for several hours without moving.
In the midst of this situation, challenges enter the line of sports confrontations, either by shaving the hair of the head, paying the price of dinner for friends, or paying the cafe fees for the next day, which are borne by the supporters of the losing team. Abdullah Al-Ansi, a university student in the city of Dhammar, said: "We challenged other friends that the loser should pay the price of dinner for the winning team fans. We cheered Argentina and they bit on Saudi Arabia, and it was our turn that we paid for dinner for that day."
Football sprit dominates all fans and creates friendly relations and new friendships between the folk, especially those who are united in supporting a a particular team. This is what Al-Ansi went to, and explained: “Every day I get to know a group of young people in the places where I watch the World Cup, whether in the homes of friends or in rest cafes.” ".
“The World Cup matches are broadcasted in the Red Club exclusively at night, because the “projector” cannot work during the day, so the enthusiasm of the fans increases, and people flock to the place with sunset until late at night, so that some of them brought a “blanket” with them. “To keep warm from the cold,” Al-Hamami said, laughing.