Christmas in Doha

No salary and no food. David, 17, and Paul, 18, worked as security guards during the World Cup, but are now left without a job and accommodation.

By Sam Kunti

It’s the day after the World Cup final and downtown Doha, known as The Corniche, is empty, the majority of fans and media have already packed their bags. In a sign that the Qatari capital is returning to its peculiar brand of normalcy, workers have reappeared to dismantle the fan zone, food trucks and tournament branding. An Indian couple takes a last snap at the waterfront ‘I ❤️ Doha’ sign, seconds later workers remove the heart. It’s a powerful image – are they stripping Doha’s façade? 

Does the observation even matter? The media, fans and everyone with a football heart is still revelling in Lionel Messi’s consecration, at last stepping out of the shadow of Diego Maradona with the ultimate twilight-career conquest at Lusail Stadium, the culmination of a four-week global TV spectacular in Qatar. The hosts and FIFA had gotten their dream final. 

Qatar and Messi’s immortalisation will forever remain synonymous and that was priceless to organisers. Who cares about migrant workers and the LGBT community now? David, 17, and Paul, 18, watched the final on the big screen at the Corniche’s fan zone. The 120 minutes entertained the pair and took their minds briefly of the gruesome universe of labour abuse they dwelled in Doha as security guards, helping to safeguard the World Cup at some marquee venues. “The match was good and I wanted France to win because I support them…I don’t support Messi. My favourite player is Cristiano Ronaldo, but David was supporting Argentina,” says Paul.

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