Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Arabic football commentary

While giggling like a school girl at prom as I watched France struggle to beat Luxembourg (one of those weird European micro-states) 2-0 after Luxembourg had been reduced to 10 men on around the sixtieth minute, I was inspired to ask a question. It’s been on mind for quite some time.

Are Arab football commentators on speed? Alternatively, do they get paid by the word?

Here’s a brief sample of a typical piece of commentary, mentioning France’s Samir Nasrie:
“Samir Nasrie’s on the ball. Samir plays for Arsenal in the English Premier League. His favourite colour is magenta; his first pet was a Labrador cross called Scruffy, Scruffy died when Samir was seven. Samir was very sad. His mother met his father while working as a waitress in a local shop in 1978, they instantly fell in love and a long courtship began. Samir enjoys soft music, candlelight dinners and long walks along the beach as the stars come out. Samir is single and interested in a long term relationship. Nasrie passes the ball to Malouda. Malouda was born in….”

I exaggerate, but only slightly.

Why? Why, for the love of God, do we need to know about Samir’s parents?

Then there’s the goal celebrations…


This goes on until he chokes and dies of over excitement.


None of my Lebanese friends enjoy it, they all complain, or laugh at their expense.

I’d rather listen to French commentary and that’s a painful admission for me.