Doha, Qatar – In 2002, soccer fans visiting Japan and South Korea for the World Cup turned acquainted with the hand followers.
Eight years later, vuvuzelas had been launched to the world by South Africa.
This 12 months, Qatari nationwide Khalifa Naimi is hoping to place a brand new spin on the standard head scarf, the ghutra, for a significant influence on soccer followers descending onto his dwelling turf for the 2022 World Cup.
On most days, the 26-year-old is hustling most days at his “Ghutra Mundo” retailer tucked away in a nook of the Souq Waqif Metro Station within the capital Doha.
Enterprise is booming as thousands and thousands of followers from internationally troop to the Gulf nation for the primary match to be hosted within the Center East. Among the scarves from his retailer and others, have even begun to point out up on the stadiums throughout matches.
However for Naimi, gross sales are only one facet of the job. His principal focus is now educating soccer followers a few tradition he’s extremely happy with, he says.
“The ghutra is a good unifying image that’s a part of our nationwide costume”, Naimi tells Al Jazeera. “To show the world and present that Qataris are welcoming and to partake and share in our tradition makes the ghutra an incredible image of hospitality”.
All flags of the 32 qualifying groups for the World Cup have been infused on the ghutra. Naimi additionally supplies bespoke thobes (conventional ankle-length gown) and prayer beads.
‘A part of our persona’
Merchandise infused with regional id can generally be a troublesome promote to some who could view it as trivialising the tradition, Naimi mentioned.
However he says he has obtained principally constructive suggestions from locals and followers alike, even when he’s conscious of an persevering with debate between conservative and progressive parts of his group.
“What we are attempting to do is one thing to assist Qatar and the Arab area in a constructive method,” he mentioned.
As clients shortly congregate forward of a soccer match on the storefront, Naimi makes certain to personalise their expertise, explaining the modest outfits of each women and men within the area.
He reveals off alternative ways of carrying the ghutra, particularly his go-to type – the “cobra”.
This interplay with world soccer followers to place them comfortable about carrying the ghutra is necessary he says, due to a positive line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation.
“I’m hoping my product brings pleasure and educates individuals on the Qatari and the Arab tradition as a complete,” Naimi mentioned. “This isn’t only a Qatari factor, it’s in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and across the Center East. it’s a part of our persona. I would like individuals to return for the Phrase Cup and depart with our tradition.”
For a lot of clients, together with Jouad from Morocco, that is their first dip into Qatari tradition. “I by no means tried the Qatari tradition, that is the primary time I’ve tried it and I’ve lived in Qatar for 10 years,” says Jouad from Morocco. “Once you see the Moroccan staff and other people right here you’re feeling proud, particularly on Arabic land right here for the primary time. I really feel like I’m dwelling, within the capital of Morocco”
Ashraf, a resident of Singapore, a proud proprietor of a ghutra with Brazilian colors, says one can not actually get the complete World Cup expertise with out rocking the headband. “[It’s] identical to in the event you go to Brazil, you put on all the good Rio Carnival stuff … it amplifies the tradition,” he mentioned.
Tunisian fan Belgacem agreed, making an attempt on a ghutra as his spouse took photographs, smiling.
“I’m shopping for it [the ghutra] as a memento,” he mentioned. “After I return to my nation, I’ll bear in mind this marvellous occasion and I’ll have a good time my presence right here.”
With the match now in full swing, Naimi is happy with his process and beaming with patriotic satisfaction, even when he’s lacking stay video games in the course of the match.
“It means the world to host this match in Qatar,” he informed Al Jazeera. “That is the time we present the world how we shine. Qatar could also be small in dimension, however it’s huge in acts, and hopefully, this match reveals that.”