DUBAI: With a record four Arab national teams competing in the FIFA World Cup this year – Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia -ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller’s10thannual Arab Youth Survey reveals that young people across the region think that Egypt has the best chance among the Arab nations of progressing through the tournament.
Two in three young Arabs (65 per cent) say they will closely follow the World Cup competition, which kicks off in Russia on June 14, 2018 with the Saudi Arabia team playing the hosts of the World Cup; and young Arab women (60 per cent) are nearly as likely to follow the competition as young Arab men (70 per cent). Among those who will follow the competition, 14 per cent say that Germany will be crowned the FIFA World Cup 2018 champions, 13 per cent say Brazil has the best chance to win, while another 12 per cent expect Argentina to win.
Among those who will follow the competition, 11 per cent say they will support Egypt, making the Egyptian team as popular as Argentina (12 per cent) and Germany (10 per cent). Egypt is the clear fan favorite in the GCC countries, with 24 per cent of GCC youth saying they will support Egypt in the competition.
When asked specifically about the four Arab nations taking part in the World Cup, Egypt is the favorite with a third or respondents (34 per cent) saying Egypt will outperform other Arab countries in Russia, followed by Morocco (22 per cent), Saudi Arabia (21 per cent), and Tunisia (19 per cent).
Sunil John, founder of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller and President, Middle East, Burson Cohn & Wolfe, said: “The FIFA World Cup is going to be a major event for youth in the Middle East and North Africa. With the highest ever participation from Arab national teams, it’s not surprising that two in every three young Arabs will be following the competition closely. The FIFA World Cup encourages a sense of unity among supporters in the Arab world, and brings feelings of hope and excitement across the region.”
The survey was conducted prior to Egypt’s star player, Mohammed Saleh, suffering a shoulder injury during Liverpool’s defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League final last month. Saleh’s involvement in Russia is still hanging in the balance but there is hope that he will make a full recovery and participate in Egypt’s opening match against Uruguay on June 15, 2018.
The ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey is the largest survey of its kind of the Middle East’s largest demographic – its youth. For this year’s Survey, international polling firm PSB Research conducted 3,500 face-to-face interviews with exclusively Arab national men and women aged 18-24 in the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain; Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Yemen, between January 21 and February 20, 2018.