A Saudi World Cup squad video with a Kerala twist is going viral

Health & Fitness
Disclaimer: Cropped screenshot from the SAFF video. Source: SAFF YouTube


The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) kicked off the official team announcement with a creative video that has gone viral within a few hours of its launch on social media.

But perhaps the biggest surprise of the video was at the end, when it switches from Arabic to Malayalam, the official language of the South Indian state of Kerala.

Source: YouTube/daniel

The video, which has English subtitles, shows how Saudis learn about and react to the announcements of the World Cup squad, which includes Taiser Aljassam, Abdullah Almualouf, Salman Alfaraj and Muhannad Assiri.

People are shown receiving the news about the team members at offices, colleges, coffee shops, saloons, cinemas and even in hospital.

At the end of the video, a person listening to a Malayalam radio channel at a saloon is ecstatic as he finds out that his favourite player, midfielder Abdulmalek Al Khaibiri, has been selected.  

This ending is perhaps not quite as unexpected for Saudis as it is for the rest of us; according to UN estimates, more than 2 million migrants from India live in Saudi Arabia, and Keralites are the largest segment of this community in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia is making its first World Cup appearance since Germany 2006, and the squad of 23 players was announced on June 4. The team will face Egypt and Uruguay in Group A.

(Editing by Seban Scaria seban.scaria@thomsonreuters.com)

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