Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Arabic: Language of football passion from commentators

Football is about the passion, the energy and the beauty of the game, and Arab announcers are great at helping viewers at home feel the electrifying atmosphere inside the stadium.

The enjoyment of watching a football match on television is magnified when passionate commentators are calling the game. When a player breaks through to score a goal, the best announcers add to the excitement and really get your adrenalin pumping.

This is one reason why many fans love to watch games with Arabic commentary. Football is about the passion, the energy and the beauty of the game, and Arab announcers are great at helping viewers at home feel the electrifying atmosphere inside the stadium.

Two of the best are Faris Awadh and Amer Abdulla Almari, both Emiratis, who announce Pro League matches on Dubai Sports. Fans follow their work closely and love them for their knowledge of the game and their passionate and inspiring delivery.

Other Emirati commentators, such Eissa Al Harbeen and Ahmed Al Hosani, who announce Pro League games on Abu Dhabi Sports, are pioneers of Arabic football announcing. They have great tactical awareness and like to talk about individual players and team history during the game, and both can be very loud and emotional.

"I honestly would prefer Pro League commentators to announce on the other leagues as well," said Mohammad Al Bastaki, a Emirati from Dubai who follows the Pro League. "To hear to Faris Awadh is bliss and the voice of Amer Abdulla Almari is really awesome.

"You can feel the tendency to cheer for your team because of the energy they bring from their commentary."

The most popular Arab announcer is the Tunisian Essam Al Shawaly, who does games from international leagues for Al Jazeera Sports. His is the voice you hear on the Arab version of the Fifa 2012 video game, which was released with passionate Arabic commentary by EA Sports because of the huge demand from fans.

Al Shawaly has a unique voice and his tone is very authoritative; he earns the respect of the viewers for his knowledge and articulate delivery. He is well known in the region and the fans love him.

Last weekend, the customers at a cafe I was at demanded to have the television switched to a game just because Al Shawaly was commentating on it.

People who have never watched a match with Arabic commentary are missing out.

Arab announcers like to mix in bits of history of the teams and players, and their excitement level is unmatched. If you watch English commentators, their words tend to complement the images; they only talk when something significant is happening in the match.


Perhaps the enjoyment of the broadcasts is one reason why Pro League fans seem to prefer watching matches on television over going to the stadiums.

The Asian Football Confederation has urged the Pro League to work harder at getting more fans. Despite all the investments, the league has failed to attract greater numbers, which could cost the UAE a spot in the Asian Champions League.

The criteria for the 2012 Champions League require a minimum average attendance of 5,000 per game, but the Pro League is well short of that. Last year, the average attendance was 2,600; this year, it has increased to 3,200.

Every club should have fans like Al Ain - they are very passionate and create an amazing atmosphere at the stadium, with an average of about 4,000 per game. Pro League clubs definitely have more fans than the average of 3,200 that come to the stadiums. Whether it's because they enjoy the commentary or because weeknight games are tough when fans have work the next morning, many of them prefer to watch from home.

Omar Al Raisi is an Emirati football writer and analyst who lives in Abu Dhabi.


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Ali Benflis, opposition leader and main rival to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika speaks to the press after casting his vote in the presidential elections at a polling station in Algiers on. Former prime minister Benflis ran against Bouteflika in 2004 but lost heavily, charging the vote was rigged 10 years ago and has said fraud will be his ‘main adversary’ during the election. Patrick Baz / AFP Photo

Best photography from around the world, April 17

The National View's photo editors pick the best images of the day from around the world.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr is pictured before the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on March 1, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP

New Southampton owner leading club’s resurgence from the shadows

Katharina Liebherr keeping with family tradition and letting others dominate the spotlight

 The new Bentley GT Speed convertible on display at a press event of the New York International Auto Show. Jason Szenes / EPA

In pictures: Hot cars at New York International Auto Show

With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the US car industry. Here are some of the vehicles to be shown in this year’s edition.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National