Quotes: US MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

In Lebanon, World Cup fever a break from politics  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - AFP - 12/06/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - AFP) Lebanon's capital Beirut is awash with flags. But instead of the usual political colours, they're the bunting of World Cup competitors like Brazil and Germany being flown by local mega-fans.

Lebanon's national team didn't qualify for the event starting Thursday, and the tiny nation has no great sporting track record.

But its citizens display a near-fanatical enthusiasm for chosen proxy nations, mainly countries that tend to do well in the World Cup and host large Lebanese populations, draping cars, homes and businesses with "their" country's colours.

"I just love Germany. I love the way they play the game," says 19-year-old Elias Nohra.

He spent 50 having a Germany flag sticker affixed to the roof of his car.

"Money well-spent," he says with a grin.

Some drivers have gone further, trailing fluttering flags from their cars, draping scarves round their rear-view mirrors, and even plastering semi-transparent flag stickers across entire windshields.

The mania is a chance for the often unstable country to escape the daily grind, and good news for vendors, with even those who usually sell cellphones or children's toys adding flags to their stock to cash in.

"Every day we get closer to the World Cup, flag sales increase," says 23-year-old vendor Ali Nasrallah in the Sabra Palestinian camp in Beirut.

"The flags we sell most are Brazil, Germany and Italy."

A survey of the landscape makes it clear that Brazil, Germany and Italy are indeed local favourites, with the three nations best represented among the flags flying from cars and homes.

- Family ties spur support -

That comes as no surprise to 23-year-old Rayan Musallem, a sports journalists and Brazil fanatic.

She belongs to an official fan club working with Brazil's embassy to organise match viewings.

"I've loved Brazil since I was little, it might be because my family nicknamed me Rio, but to be honest I just love the country, their passion for football and the way they play," she says.

Like many Lebanese, she knows families who have emigrated to Brazil, which is home to the largest concentration of Lebanese in the diaspora.

Such ties through emigration are one reason Lebanese cite in choosing which country to support.

"I'm with France because all my family is there," says 50-year-old Aida Qassis, who owns a toy shop but has added flags to her stock.

"You know, Lebanon took its independence from France and France still supports us, so I hope they do well in the World Cup," she says.

Elie Sarkis inherited his support of Brazil from his father and grandfather.

"They've always loved Brazil, I think in part because they were impressed that when players scored they'd cross themselves and thank God," he says.

"My family are very religious, and they like that in Brazil, people might be poor, but they have faith, and when they get rich they still love their country and have faith in God."

But for many Lebanese, the decision to pick a team is swayed solely by their favourite players.

Argentina has seen its popularity here boosted by the high-profile career of Lionel Messi, and Portugal commands an outsize following on the basis of its star striker Cristiano Ronaldo.

- 'A unifying event' -

For 24-year-old Tony Rizk, it was legendary goalkeeper Oliver Kahn who started his passion for Germany's team.

Last year, he fulfilled a life-long dream by visiting Munich, and this year he and the fan club he founded are working with Germany's embassy in Lebanon to organise viewing events.

Like many Lebanese, he describes World Cup mania as one of the few non-political events in a country often marked by political and sectarian divisions.

"Our club has fans from everywhere in Lebanon. You see Muslims, Christians, everyone, watching the games," he says.

"It's a unifying event."


 


AFP




  MENA News Headlines
 Sep 16 2014 - Egypt tourism could fully recover in 2015MENAFN
(MENAFN) Egypt's tourism industry, which has been struggling for the last three years could fully recover by the end of next year, Gulf News reported,Egypt's Tourism Minister said that he hoped ...

 Sep 16 2014 - Jolie meets Malta sinking boat survivorsArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) MALTA: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres and Special Envoy Angelina Jolie visited the naval rescue headquarters in Malta on Sunday on a weekend in which new boat ...

 Sep 16 2014 - North Korea off to flying start in soccerArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) INCHEON: North Korea's footballers dismantled China 3-0 Monday as they got off to a rousing start at the Incheon Asian Games cheered on by fans waving the Korean Unification ...

 Sep 16 2014 - Keselowski locks up spot in Sprint Cup's Round 2Arab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) JOLIET Illinois: Stop Brad Keselowski if you've heard this one before.'I guess you couldn't ask for a better way to start the Chase' he said after winning NASCAR's playoff series ...

 Sep 16 2014 - McIlroy to play Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf ChampionshipArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy is set for a stunning return to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship where he has his sights focused on winning his first Falcon ...

 Sep 16 2014 - Gonzales to fore as Cardinals flatten Rockies 4-1Arab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) ST. LOUIS: St. Louis Cardinals rookie Marco Gonzales grew up watching the Colorado Rockies.Raised in Fort Collins about an hour north of Denver he is quite familiar with Coors ...

 Sep 16 2014 - Chinese president wins Maldives backing for 'maritime silk route'Arab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) MALE Maldives: China's President Xi Jinping secured Maldivian support Monday for a '21st century maritime silk road' as he began a South Asian tour in the strategically located ...

 Sep 16 2014 - Cameron heads to Scotland hoping to boost 'No' voteArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) ABERDEEN United Kingdom: British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday was to plead with Scots to vote against independence in a referendum as Scotland enters the most decisive ...

 Sep 16 2014 - Key bridge destroyed by Assad forces in IS-held eastern SyriaArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) BEIRUT: Islamic State militants lost a vital supply route in eastern Syria on Monday with the destruction of the last bridge in the city of Deir El-zor a monitoring group ...

 Sep 16 2014 - Libyan ex-general claims new airstrikeArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) BENGHAZI: Forces loyal to former Libyan army general Khalifa Haftar claimed an airstrike on an armed group near Tripoli on Monday a senior commander said in what would be the ...

more...


 






Google

Click to Apply

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

IPO News
Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

US Markets Details

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Investment Game
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

My MENAFN
Portfolio Tracker

Voting

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2000 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help