Arab World: Where the Streets are Quiet During Football Games

Millions of people around the world are glued to their television screens, watching the World Cup's opening ceremony from South Africa – and the scene is not that different in the Arab world.

From Saudi Arabia, Khaled Alabdulrahman sums up the mood across the region:

For the next few hours the streets of Riyadh will be quiet. Thanks South Africa ;)

From Bahrain, Nivos rejoices:

World Cup opening Ceremony….the world under one roof…..WOW!!!

Still in Bahrain, Redbelt adds:

I'm so happy! World Cup is finally starting! Watching the opening ceremony with wifey.

But for some, it was work as usual. Riyadh Abdul Aziz, from Oman, tweets:

Off to MOLA to do some stuff related to our workshop this week. Not watching anything #worldcup

The opening show garnered many comments, particularly when Algerian crooner Cheb Khaled rendered Didi, which brought happy memories to tweeps.

Egyptian Alaa Abd El Fattah was pleased:

cool sheb khaled is rocking #WC2010

Saudi Arabian Rami Taibah was taken back in time:

Didi!!! LOL that song took me 17 years back…. #Worldcup #WC2010

And Butheina, from the UAE, stood corrected:

Never thought “didi” could be brought back, but cheb Khaled just proved me wrong in #southafrica #worldcup

And there were disappointments.

Taibah wonders:

Wow is it just me or is the stadium isn't at full capacity? #disappointed #WC2010 #Worldcup

Doha-based Abdurahman Warsame was running out of patience:

beautiful music including Algerian singer Khalid, Kwaito (SA rap) singers … wow but let the games begin #wc2010

And Egyptian Ahmed Shokeir was not impressed:

إنتهاء الإحتفال بإفتتاح كأس العالم … إفتتاح متواضع وبدون إبهار ولكنه مقبول

The World Cup opening ceremony is over… a very modest opening, without that wow factor but acceptable

Despite this, Eyad, from Bahrain, was not pleased it ended:

Is that it! Really? I can haz disappointment

Many viewers poured their criticism on Al Jazeera Sports, which is broadcasting the games.

Taibah writes:

Dear Al-Jazeera Sports commentator please shut up, we don't need your input. We understand whats going on #WC2010 #Worldcup @ajenglish_sport

He continues:

I am just glad that Aljazeera Sport commentator didn't translate the lyrics too!

Butheina adds:

Why do arab commentators insist on maintaining that monotone from when tv was first invented as a one size fits all for every event #sa

For some, politics couldn't not be separated from sports.

Palestinian-Jordanian Mohammed Yousef, who lives in Saudi Arabia, hopes:

One day, Apartheid will end in Palestine and will show to the world how we can welcome them to #worldcup #pal

And Buthenia adds:

Dear @aljazeera network: pls reinvest th truckloads of money ull make frm ad revenue frm #worldcup into a motion picture abt #flotilla

Egyptian Mo-ha-med leaves us with a final thought:

Let's be honest. Did we really think we could organize the #WorldCup ? Can we compete with that?

Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.