CAIRO – Being revered and adored as a national hero, the pictures of soccer star Muhammad Salah are boosting sales in Egypt ahead of the holy month of Ramadan.
“The Mohamed Salah lantern is the highest selling lantern this year,” said Essam, a shopkeeper, who did not give his last name, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
Manufacturers have plastered his image on traditional Ramadan products ranging from pillows to lanterns “famous” and paper cut-outs as they try to cash in on his success to offset economic hardships caused by the government’s financial reforms.
Other shopkeepers at a market in Cairo’s Sayeda Zainab neighborhood said “Salah mania” was also helping them sell.
“Mohamed Salah is a role model for all Egyptians at the moment,” said Omnia, a shopper.
“All of Egypt loves Mo’ Salah, as they call him in England.”
Liverpool Muslim star Mohamed Salah added a new trophy to his list of awards this year, as he was feted Sunday, May 13, with the Golden Boot for the Premier League’s top scorer, after finishing the season with 32 goals, setting a new scoring record.
Next month, the 25-year-old will lead Egypt’s first team at the World Cup.
As Ramadan kicks off, Salah will have one more shot at glory with Liverpool this season in a fortnight when the team takes on Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
The Egypt star also won the Professional Footballers’ Association player of the year award in April.
Hailing from a Muslim-majority country, Salah is a devout Muslim who often prostrates to God on the field after scoring goals – a trend in sports that Egyptian players have started since 2006 during the African Cup of Nations in Egypt- hence nicknamed the ‘Prostrating Pharaohs’.
Earlier this year, the traveling Liverpool fans in the streets of a Portuguese city in midweek struck up a new chant to the tune of the 90s hit “Good Enough” by Dodgy with the line: “If he scores another few, then I’ll be Muslim too!”
A recent report by Football Against Racism in Europe (Fare) found that the success of Liverpool Muslim star Mohamed Salah has significantly decreased hate and race crimes in the English Premier League.B