CAIRO: Egyptians are the most enthusiastic followers of the 2010 World Cup games in the Middle East and Africa region, a global survey conducted by The Nielsen Company recently revealed.
Sixty-one percent of Egyptians said they intend to follow the games, and 56 percent claim to be football fans. With these percentages, Egypt is the ranging 4th in the global comparison, directly behind Brazil, Portugal and South Africa.
The survey also showed that in the Middle East and North Africa 55 percent of the respondents are following the 2010 World Cup, even though only 48 percent call themselves being football fans.
“As the most widely followed sporting event in the world, interest in the World Cup cuts across the demographics of age, gender, income, and nationality,” notes Himanshu Vashishtha, managing director of The Nielsen Company in the Middle East, Pakistan.
Egyptians were followed by Saudis as 54 percent indicated they are watching the games, and Pakistanis at 43 percent. In the United Arab Emirates, interest for football is relatively lower, with only 40 percent describing themselves as football fans.
In Egypt, football is creating a high feeling of community and togetherness, both within the country, as well as with other African states. Hosted by South Africa, this year’s World Cup attracts larger parts of the region’s population who are feeling closer to the events.
The same effect was observed in 2002 when Korea and Japan hosted the World Cup and interest in football exploded in Asia, with a long-lasting effect.
Globally, 51 percent indicated that they will watch the games and only 34 percent consider themselves football fans.
The survey showed that Brazilians are the most enthusiastic followers of football, with 69 percent describing themselves as fans of the game.
Five-time winner Brazil is by far the strongest favorite among the respondents to win the games, with a backing of 34 percent of football fans, and even 37 percent in the Middle East and Africa region. Second favorite Germany lags behind with only 9 percent of the respondents supporting the team.