How the Ghutra became a World Cup must-have

Sie can be seen everywhere. It encloses the sunburnt faces of British fans and adorns the heads of Mexicans, many of whom are actually copying their traditional sombreros Qatar had dragged along. The “Albiceleste” model in the colors of the Argentine flag is also common. The ghutra, the traditional Qatari headgear made of an artfully folded cloth and a thick cord, celebrates its international breakthrough at this soccer World Cup. It is the stand-out piece of fan fashion. And its inventor is a very, very lucky person.

Khalifa Abdul Hakim al-Naimi beams. “It’s heartwarming after all the work we’ve put into this project. After all those nights without sleep.” Together with three friends, he and three friends created the “Ghutra Mundo” project from scratch within a few months. All of them are not yet thirty, two of them are engineers, another and al-Naimi are bankers. Now there are four shops and an online shop.

It was a bet. The four friends had no idea if their idea would actually succeed. “But you can see for yourself how people jump at it,” says al-Naimi. The small shop behind whose counter he is standing is buzzing. The location is convenient, in a subway station near Souq Waqif, the refurbished old market, which used to be very quiet, but is now crowded with fans, sometimes singing and dancing, while many locals celebrate the World Cup -Enjoy the hustle and bustle in the coffee houses as a spectator.

Fan costume: fitting at the Ghutra Mundo shop in Doha

Fan costume: fitting at the Ghutra Mundo shop in Doha

Image: Christoph Ehrhardt

Not with “Ghutra Mundo”, where it only works with full contact. The company founders are also salespeople, handing their goods over the counter in unison. If you want, you can get your ghutra from them directly in the shop and put on by a professional hand. Two Mexicans have just been served when the Americans are already pushing in, followed by undecided Brits who have been attracted by the hustle and bustle. The atmosphere comes much closer to what the organizers claim for the World Cup than the bombast of the fan festivals under the logo of the world football association FIFA.

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