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Al Janoub – the pearl of stadiums helping football around the world

Every supporter has a list of matches they want to see and a stadium they would like to take at least one selfie in this lifetime. Al Janoub Stadium should be on every supporter’s bucket list. Frankly, it should be even on the footballers’ bucket list. There are seven matches that will be played during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar at the stadium – the pearl of Qatar, so you might as well get your chance.

Inspired by the past, built for the future

But let’s tell you about it, so you know what gem you can check in on before you get to its pores. The design of the stadium is inspired by traditional dhow boats that are dating back as far as 600 BC and which are mentioned or described in the “1001 Nights”. They pay tribute to Al Wakrah’s maritime history. Don’t imagine now that if the inspiration comes from something so traditional, the stadium looks modern. It’s incredible! The futuristic design perfectly connects tradition with modernity. 

“When Zaha Hadid studied Al Wakrah and the area around the stadium, she was inspired to integrate maritime elements into the design, shaping the exterior to look like a pearl and the interior like a dhow boat,” says Abdulaziz al-Ishaq, the stadium’s director of facilities management. 

“The dhow is an abstracted reference, but the shell-like enclosure of a hull is a direct analogy to the stadium roof as it is made of a collection of shells,” says Jim Heverin, principal at Zaha Hadid Architects.  

Who is Zaha Hadid? 

The stadium was designed by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. She was an Iraqi-British architect, artist and designer, recognized as a major figure in architecture. The Guardian described her as the “Queen of the curve”, who “has liberated architectural geometry, giving it a whole new expressive identity”. In 2013, Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) unveiled her design for Qatar’s Al Wakrah Stadium, (three years before her death). The Iraqi-born architect created a stadium that addressed the sweltering heat of the Middle East while honouring the region’s history. It was the first new stadium commissioned for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar. 

The stadium has a fully retractable roof so the players and spectators can be cooled, allowing the building to be used all year round. By using pleated polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) fabric, the rooftop can be extended to mimic the look of a sail, while simultaneously shielding both players and spectators in the stadium. The stadium will pump air-conditioned air, which will be collected, recycled, and cooled once more throughout the space. 

It was officially inaugurated on 16 May 2019, when it hosted the Amir Cup final. 

The stadium will help football around the world 

Al Janoub Stadium will host 40,000 fans during the World Cup and will have a capacity of 20,000 afterward. How will this happen? Around 20,000 seats in the upper stands are to be donated to support football development projects abroad. Al Janoub Stadium will be transformed into a sports center for the Al Wakrah community: additional facilities, including a cycling and running track, are already under development. But also, a mosque, a multi-purpose indoor arena, a school and a wedding hall. Of course, football will still be played on it. The stadium is the permanent home of football team Al Wakrah Sports Club. 

“The location of Al Janoub Stadium was strategically chosen to serve the residents of Al Wakrah and the surrounding areas, as they represent a large demographic of Qatar’s population,” Al Ishaq added. 

Let’s not forget that the stadium is also home to Al Janoub Park – a green space that includes recreational and children’s play areas. 

How to get to the stadium?

From the center of Doha to Al Janoub Stadium is just 23 kilometres. You can get there by car or by metro, as Al Wakrah station on the Doha Metro Red Line is just 4.5 km away. The good news is you don’t have to walk if you don’t want to. There will be buses that will take you to and from the stadium when there are matches.  

Safety First is Safety Always  

The Al Janoub Stadium project was managed by KEO International Consultants. MIDMAC, Sixco, and PORR Qatar were the main contractors for the project. Al Janoub Stadium has achieved three sustainability certifications: the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) Design and Construction Certificate (four stars), the GSAS Construction Management Certificate (class A* rating), and a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Report Certificate for the energy center. 

What matches can you watch right from this stadium?

Al Janoub Stadium will host seven matches through to the round of 16 stages, including: 

22 November: France v Australia (Group D) 

24 November: Switzerland v Cameroon (Group G) 

26 November: Tunisia v Australia (Group D) 

28 November: Cameroon v Serbia (Group G) 

30 November: Australia v Denmark (Group D) 

2 December: Ghana v Uruguay (Group H) 

5 December: Round of 16 (Group E winner v Group F runner-up) 

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