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
 Jan 26 2015 - GCC Secretary General Receives France AmbassadorSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Secretary General of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani received here today the French Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ...

 Jan 26 2015 - Guinean President Arrives in Riyadh to Offer Condolences on Death of Late King AbdullahSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Guinea's president Alpha Conde arrived here today to offer condolences on the death of late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. At Riyadh Air Base Airport, Guinean ...

 Jan 26 2015 - Russia's Putin says Kiev refuses political solution to crisis in eastSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that the Kiev government was refusing a political solution to violence in the eastern Ukraine where fighting has flared ...

 Jan 26 2015 - Alexis Tsipras sworn in as Greek prime ministerSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Athens, Rabi'II 6, 1436, Jan 26, 2015, SPA - Leftist SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras is sworn in as Greece's new prime minister, hours after his party's landslide win in ...

 Jan 26 2015 - Côte d'Ivoire's President Arrives in Riyadh to Offer Condolences on Death of Late King AbdullahSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Riyadh, Rabi'II 06, 1436, January 26, 2015, SPA - President of CØ£´te d'Ivoire Alassane Ouattara arrived here today to offer condolences on the death of late King ...

 Jan 26 2015 - FGB announces deal with Dalma EnergyEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) ABU DHABI, 25th January, 2015 (WAM) - FGB looks to maintain strong growth in 2015 having already closed a USD 313.7 million secured syndication facility on ...

 Jan 26 2015 - Dubai Islamic Bank Group net profit up by 63 per cent to AED 2.8 billion in 2014Emirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) DUBAI, 25th January, 2015 (WAM)-Dubai Islamic Bank (DFM: DIB), today announced that its net profit surged by 63 per cent to AED 2.80 billion, up 63 per cent in ...

 Jan 26 2015 - FCCI organises first Serbian Business and Investment ForumEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) ABU DHABI, 25th January 2015 (WAM) -- Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) on Sunday organised the First Serbian Business and Investment ...

 Jan 26 2015 - DAE, Azul announce completion of Sale Leaseback TransactionsEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) DUBAI, 26th January, 2015 (WAM) - Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, DAE, and Azul Brazilian Airlines, today announced that they had recently completed delivery of 5 ...

 Jan 26 2015 - OPEC daily basket price for Friday 23rd January 2015Emirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) VIENNA, 26th January, 2015 (WAM) - The price of OPEC's basket of twelve crudes stood at US$ 43.69 dollars a barrel on Friday, compared with $43.05 the previous ...

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

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