RIYADH: Saudi football fans unable to attend the World Cup in Doha have been enjoying the next best thing thanks to a designated fan zone inside Mrsool Park stadium.
Organized by the General Entertainment Authority as part of the Riyadh Season, the area features a giant screen for people to watch the game, as well as food and drinks stalls to keep them fed and watered.
On Saturday, the zone was full of fans hoping for a second win of the tournament — after the amazing victory against Argentina — but the Green Falcons came up short against Poland.
Football fan Ibtisam, who watched the game with her friends, was full of praise for the venue.
“The organization is really great and this is a really fun way to watch the World Cup and support our national team,” she said.
Because the game was being screened inside a real football stadium, the atmosphere was similar to that experienced by the traveling fans at the Education City Stadium in Qatar.
Abdulaziz Al-Subaie, who watched the game with his family, said: “It’s a great atmosphere and has allowed us to watch the game outdoors with the rest of the Kingdom.”
Riyadh Season had ensured the city was full of entertaining activities, he added.
Saleh Al-Subaie, who spent much of the match against Poland hugging his father because of the tension and excitement, was equally complimentary.
“I liked the fact that we have things to do here before the game and during halftime. Aside from watching the game we can enjoy fun games here with everyone.”
As well as watching the action on the big screen, fans were able to test their own football skills in a series of challenges or play one of the many video and virtual reality games.
Rawan Filimban said he hoped to attend the World Cup live one day but in the meantime thought the fan zone was a great alternative.
“Riyadh Season is really cool and watching the World Cup like this just adds to the fun factor. The fan zone in Mrsool Park is an experience I won’t forget.”