FIFA Club World Cup fever continues; eyes on semi-finals stage

Doha: Qatar is currently hosting the FIFA Club World Cup for the second time in a row — and locally-based fans of SE Palmeiras and FC Bayern Munich have been sharing their excitement for the competition with

The CONMEBOL and UEFA representatives will both enter the tournament at the semi-finals stage. 

Palmeiras will get their campaign underway at Education City Stadium on February 7,  when they face Mexican side Tigres UANL (kick-off 21:00), while Bayern Munich take on Egyptian giants Al Ahly SC on February 8 at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium (kick-off 21:00). 

A limited number of fans will be able to attend the matches in line with Qatar’s COVID-19 protocols. Click here for ticket details, said on their website

Among the crowds will be two fans who are fanatical about their respective clubs. Here we meet Palmeiras fan Karolina Stuksa and Bayern Munich supporter Michaela Spranger.

Karolina Stuksa, SE Palmeiras
When did you move to Qatar, and what do you do there?

I moved to Doha in early 2018 to work as a flight attendant for Qatar Airways.

When did you first start supporting Palmeiras? 

For as long as I remember, I’ve supported this club based in São Paulo, where I was born. Palmeiras is one of the most popular clubs in Brazil, with millions of supporters. Many of them, like myself, are Brazilians of Italian ancestry. But unfortunately, even though my family are Italian immigrants, they don’t support the same team that I do!

Who is your favourite Palmeiras player?

My favourite player will always be Marcos. He played as a goalkeeper until his retirement in 2012 and became one of the club’s greatest idols. If I were to choose a player from the current team, it would have to be Gabriel Veron, who plays as a forward. He’s a young talent with a lot of potential.

What will it mean to you to see Palmeiras play in the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020?

I’m so proud and excited for the chance to see my Palmeiras playing here in Qatar, which has been my home for the past three years. It’s nothing short of a dream come true.

With under two years to go until the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, what should fans expect when they come over to enjoy the tournament?

If you are thinking of coming to Qatar, prepare yourself to be immersed in so much history and diversity. You will enjoy the cultures and foods of different peoples from around the world, all immersed in a fun, warm and friendly culture of hospitality. The great thing is that you won’t have to worry about your safety either, as the country is one of the safest in the world. Experiencing cutting-edge technology at tournament stadiums against a background of rich heritage will definitely be a treat for the senses.

Michaela Spranger, FC Bayern Munich

When did you move to Qatar, and what do you do there?

In 2014, I moved to Qatar to pursue a career in the country’s growing tourism sector. During my time here, I also founded the official Bayern Munich fan club, known as the ‘Red Falcons’.

When did you first start supporting Bayern Munich?

I grew up supporting them; in fact, my entire family supports them. Watching their many successes domestically and on the continental level over the years has been a tremendous reward for a lifetime of support.

Who is your favourite Bayern Munich player?

It would have to be Thomas Müller. He has been an incredibly consistent and important player for Bayern and Germany in recent years. He can play anywhere across the forward line and often chips in with important goals. 
He is one of the greatest players in Bayern’s history.

What will it mean to you to see Bayern Munich play in the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020?

I can tell you that having met the team during previous visits to Qatar, that it has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Although we won’t be able to get too close this time because of the COVID-19 safety measures, I really look forward to seeing them in action. And as always, I really look forward to the opportunity to meet other fans. That sense of community is one of the things that makes football so special.

With under two years to go until the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, what should fans expect when they come over to enjoy the tournament?

They will get a sense of the multiculturalism that makes Qatar what it is. So many different nationalities live here in peace, and that’s something really beautiful. I’m sure that when people get to witness what Qatar has to offer in a safe yet exciting setting, they will continue to visit this country long after the World Cup.

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