Doha, 1 May 2023 - As the Hayya Experience Director, Aisha Al Naama played an important role in helping fans make memories that will last a lifetime during Qatar 2022.
The Hayya Card provided a gateway to Qatar during the FIFA World Cup™, acting as an entry permit to the country while providing access to stadiums and free public transport. The innovative digital fan ID system also helped visitors enjoy attractions off the field, such as fan zones and concerts.
Qatari Aisha, who is an avid mountaineer and explorer away from work, spoke about her Qatar 2022 in the first part of our ‘Amazing: Delivered’ series.
When did you join the SC?
I joined the SC in 2014. Prior to that, I worked in the oil and gas sector in Ras Laffan. After graduating from Liverpool University in electrical engineering and electronics, I worked in instrument engineering and control systems. However, when the opportunity came to be part of the world’s largest sporting event, I couldn’t turn it down. I knew that Qatar would make history and wanted to be part of it. I knew this would be a momentous occasion for the entire region and that its impact would be felt for generations to come.
Tell us about your role during Qatar 2022.
I led on the design and execution of the Hayya Card user experience. This meant ensuring a smooth journey from the minute fans began planning flights and accommodation to their arrival in Doha and eventually making it to their seats in the stadium. Qatar has so much to offer fans from all over the world, and the Hayya Card unlocked a world of activities and services. Through the work we did, more than 2.4 million Hayya Card holders enjoyed an optimised experience and made memories that will last a lifetime.
What advice would you give anyone working on a mega sporting event in the future?
I would tell people to believe in the overall vision of the project and be guided by the bigger picture. It was so important to me to constantly find inspiration in the belief that this event will have a tremendous impact that goes far beyond the tournament itself. It’s important to work with others, to respect different approaches and constantly learn, while leading fearlessly and with conviction. Most importantly, you should enjoy the experience. Being part of the World Cup is life-changing and I made sure to enjoy every minute of it.
Away from work, you have climbed some of the world’s highest mountains. How did those experiences help your Qatar 2022 journey?
I love endurance sports like mountain climbing, hiking and cycling. I’ve climbed Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest volcano in Africa, Mount Elbrus, Europe’s highest peak, and reached base camp on Mount Everest. I’ve run a full marathon along the Great Wall of China and cycled from Italy to Germany for charity. These experiences have all taught me how to deal with unexpected obstacles and to push forward when you feel you have no more energy to give. I’ve taken this mindset with me into both my personal and professional life and always look forward to taking on new challenges, including organising the first World Cup in the region.
What are your feelings now that you’ve helped to successfully deliver an amazing World Cup?
I feel so connected to the rest of the world through football. I saw how everyone came together to celebrate the beautiful game and learn about other cultures. Despite people’s differences, there was so much commonality between people from all walks of life. It was really inspiring to see and gave me tremendous hope that we will be able to build a sustainable world for everyone. Also, the song ‘Dreamers’, which became synonymous with the tournament, seems like it captured everyone’s feelings. It certainly captured mine.