It was the Canada’s first game in 36 years on the biggest stage in men’s soccer and Mark Sherritt was among the 40,000-plus fans in attendance on Wednesday at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.
The Tsawwassen resident was part of the boisterous Canadian supporters in a 1-0 defeat to Belgium to begin World Cup group stage play.
“This is his very first World Cup. We’ve been talking about this for years. Brazil (in 2014) didn’t work out, and Qatar is some place that is so unique in celebrating a once in a life time experience,” his wife Minta told the Optimist. “I stupidly was hesitant to go because of the heat and customs, but travelling now would have been the best time to go as a woman.”
Sherritt reached out to friend and local travel agent Char Dyck to put the trip together for his group, prior to Canada even securing its first World Cup berth since 1986. He ended up getting a package deal through Qatar Airways to insure he would get reputable tickets, hotel and airfare.
They put together a wish list of tickets for potential games and submitted it to Qatar Airways with a preference of seeing three countries: Canada, Portugal and the Netherlands.
They initially got tickets for four games: Canada/Belgium, Netherlands/Senegal, Australia/France and Ghana/Portugal.
The group was told they could have access to additional tickets if they travelled to Dubai first where they got the chance go skiing, ride camels and snowboard on the sand dunes. They stayed up all night to secure tickets for three more preliminary matches: Croatia/Morocco, Iran/Wales and Australia/Tunisia.
The group is staying at the Concorde Hotel Doha and bus transportation to all the games is part of the package.
Sherritt and his friends will likely be cheering on in a nearby bar when Canada continues group stage play against Croatia on Sunday (8 a.m. PST) at Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan.