Hamad Abdulaziz, a football enthusiast from Qatar, has been recognised as the holder of a unique world record for “most matches attended at a single football FIFA World Cup by an individual”, after attending 44 of the 64 games during the Qatar World Cup 2022.
The 39-year-old’s attendance in a single FIFA World Cup tournament is undoubtedly the result of meticulous planning, and it is not likely to be surpassed anytime soon.
With all eight venues located within an hour’s drive of central Doha, Qatar staged the smallest FIFA World Cup in tournament history.
Qatar hosted four matches each day, with three hours between each kickoff. The longest distance between stadiums was 75 km, which was the trip between Al Janoub in Al Wakrah and Al Bayt in Al Khor, reported The Peninsula Qatar. Subway and bus routes connected all stadiums.
Hamad, who works as a coach for the Generation Amazing Foundation, said that he dreamt of playing in the World Cup when he was a kid.
“… and as the kick-off approached, I found a way of being part of the tournament’s success while showing how well everything was organised and how easy it was to get from one stadium to another,” he told The Peninsula Qatar.
Before the competition, Hamad made contact with Guinness World Records to make sure he would match their requirements. He needed two witnesses to attest that he showed up for the entirety of every game, and the paperwork had to be signed before kickoff and at the end of the game.
The record-holder shared that his brother helped him throughout the process by driving him between the matches. He said that there were many “close calls” since a person could attend three matches a day, at maximum.
Thanks to his brother, he “was able to break the record, even with just an hour between the end of one match and the start of another.”
It was difficult for him to convince supporters of losing teams to confirm his attendance. Sometimes, he said, the witness would leave before the match ended, which left him without a witness signature. This caused him “endless headaches” but he soon learned that he must have more than three witnesses per match.
The man happily shared that most people were very supportive, including his friends who helped him buy tickets.
Hamad joined Generation Amazing, a human and social legacy programme, in 2017. He previously worked in the banking sector and graduated with a master’s degree in Islamic finance from Hamad bin Khalifa University. In 2017, he changed his career focus. Hamad is a master coach for the initiative, which uses soccer to impart important life lessons to underserved populations.
Hamad believes he is fortunate to be a part of the tournament’s success.
“From helping Generation Amazing achieve 1 million beneficiaries to breaking the world record for attending matches”, he said he was proud to be a part of the country’s success.