World Cup in Qatar: passionate Quebecers have spent a lot to be there

Quebec soccer enthusiasts are ready to ignore the controversies and spend a nice sum to go to the World Cup in Qatar.

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“Participating in a World Cup is a childhood dream,” says Patrick Hage-Ali.

Next Monday, the 35-year-old Montreal native will fly to Doha, Qatar for two weeks to watch all the Canadian soccer team games plus a few other bonus games. The amount of the trip: $8,000, including the cost of tickets, flights and accommodation.

Patrick Hage-Ali will also fly to Doha in the coming days.

Courtesy image

Patrick Hage-Ali will also fly to Doha in the coming days.

“I’m going to sleep in a small room on a cruise ship docked in the harbor,” he jokes. But I couldn’t miss a World Cup where Canada is participating. I had to live it personally. »

Same story with Amine Ben Barous, 22, who saved for more than a year to raise the $7,000 needed to afford this trip he had dreamed of so much.

“It’s a unique opportunity to support our country in the biggest sporting event in the world,” explains the young man from Montreal. It must be understood that for us Quebec soccer enthusiasts, such an opportunity rarely arises. »

Canada had not qualified for the World Cup since 1986, and will be honoring its second participation since the creation of the competition in 1928.

Passion and controversy

Hosted in Qatar, this year’s edition has nevertheless been marred by several controversies, with calls for a boycott multiplying in recent weeks.

“Certain controversies about workers’ working conditions alarm me a little,” Amine Ben Arous acknowledges. But passion took over. Qatar has also pledged to host a CO2-neutral World Cup. I’ll see sometime there, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. »

“I go there as a simple football-loving spectator,” said Mr Hage-Ali. Is it really up to us followers to position ourselves? I’m not sure. »

Growing enthusiasm

Passionate about soccer, Gina Gaudreault has never seen the Canadian national team play as she has only attended CF Montreal matches so far. On November 27, however, she will have her place in the stands at the Khalifa Stadium in Doha for the meeting between Canada and Croatia.

Passionate about soccer, Gina Gaudreault will leave Quebec for a few weeks to cheer on Canada in Qatar.

Courtesy image

Passionate about soccer, Gina Gaudreault will leave Quebec for a few weeks to cheer on Canada in Qatar.

“I can’t wait to be there, it’s a historic moment,” enthused this Quebec City resident. As a passionate person, it is very moving to see the place football has taken in our society. Having a team qualify for the World Cup was unthinkable a few years ago. »

If the enthusiasm for this sport is undeniable, Quebecers’ love for the national team remains less pronounced than in other Canadian provinces.

“It didn’t help that the men’s national team never got to play in Quebec,” analyzes Quentin Parisis, editor-in-chief of Quebec Soccer magazine. Games are not always available on Quebec television and in French, and a majority of the team’s players come from Ontario. This can install a distance. »

For this World Cup, six CF Montreal players were called up by John Herdman, the coach, including three Quebecers, namely Samuel Piette, Ismaël Koné and Maxime Crépeau.

“CF Mont-réal’s recent good results and the presence of Quebec players on the national team mean that there has been increasing interest recently,” emphasizes Mr. Parisian. The Quebec public loves the event and the drama that surrounds it. It is certain that if Canada goes far in the competition, Quebeckers will come on board. »

Canada will face Belgium in its first game on Wednesday, November 23.

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