Quotes: 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
 Dec 22 2014 - Egypt- Writer Mohammed Magdy: My dark past created my bright presentDaily News Egypt
(MENAFN - Daily News Egypt) With tons of confused ideas inside his mind and a small laptop in front of him, novelist Mohammed Magdy spends most of his time writing about human conflicts, political ...

 Dec 22 2014 - Saudi Abdul Latif Jameel League Results and Standings 2Saudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency)  P - W - D - L - Pts1 Al-Nassr ----- 13 - 11 - 1 - 1 - 342 Al-Ahli ------ 13 - 8 - 5 - 0 - 293 Al-Shabab ---- 13 - 8 - 3 - 2 - 274 Al-Hilal ------ 12 - 7 - 3 - 2 - 245 ...

 Dec 22 2014 - Egypt- Declining oil prices contribute to budget deficit decrease by $5.5bn: Citadel HoldingDaily News Egypt
(MENAFN - Daily News Egypt) The declining oil prices are positive for the Egyptian economy, according to a statement issued by Egypt's Citadel (Qalaa) Holding on Thursday.Citadel added that the ...

 Dec 22 2014 - Tunisians vote again in presidential elections run-offDaily News Egypt
(MENAFN - Daily News Egypt) Tunisians headed back to the polls on Sunday for the run-off round of the country's first democratic presidential elections.In the first round, on 26 November, Tunisians ...

 Dec 22 2014 - Egypt- Al-Sisi appoints new Director of Intelligence AgencyDaily News Egypt
(MENAFN - Daily News Egypt) Khaled Fawzy was appointed as director of the General Intelligence Directorate(GIS) succeeding Mohamed Farid El-Tohamy, who served since July 2013, after President Abdel ...

 Dec 22 2014 - Plant closureThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) A worker walks by Ford vehicles in a parking lot at the Ford assembly plant in Genk in the Belgian province of Limburg, yesterday. The Ford Motor Company has closed Genk ...

 Dec 22 2014 - Qatar- Global economy growth likely to be weaker than 2014: QNBThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) As 2014 comes to an end, the global economy shows signs of weakness with significant downside risks. Some of these risks are likely to materialise next year, leaving the ...

 Dec 22 2014 - Qatar- Woqod discusses its 2015 budgetThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Qatar Fuel's (Woqod) Board of Directors yesterday discussed its estimated budget for the coming fiscal.The meeting was chaired by Woqod's chairman Sheikh Saoud bin ...

 Dec 22 2014 - Qatar- Nakilat to build 11 vessels for New Port ProjectThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Qatar's New Port Project (NPP) has signed an agreement with Nakilat Damen Shipyards Qatar (NDSQ) to construct 11 workboats for use at the port.The Minister of Energy and ...

 Dec 22 2014 - Egypt allows in travellers from GazaThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing yesterday for incoming passengers from the Gaza Strip for the first time in almost two months, Palestinian and Egyptian officials ...

more...


 






Google

 
 

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

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

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
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


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


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help