Mohamed Salah – The Egyptian King
For a vast number of those people, football has transcended the dimension of a mere past time and has become akin to religion. It comes as no surprise then to see the players that make such passion come to life, as having a great deal of influence on their fans. Keeping in mind the scope of the footballing community across the globe, it is by no means an exaggeration to say that these professional footballers may just as well have the power to influence parts of the world.
The clearest example of such a feat can be found by following the exploits of Mohamed Salah, an Egyptian international who took the English Premier League by storm in his debut season for Liverpool and became the first Muslim professional footballer to win the premier league golden boot, granted to league’s top scorer for the season. Mohamed Salah rightfully claimed the golden boot by finishing a 38 game season with 32 goals. The previous league record was that of 31 goals, a feat managed only by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez and Alan Shearer. The Egyptian went on to become the third Muslim footballer to win the PFA player of the year award, a huge honor that reflects the man’s determination and prowess.
His performance has not been limited to the premier league or even to Liverpool as a matter of fact, seeing as he carried the Egyptian national team past the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and into the main tournament. Salah has also been instrumental in Liverpool’s Champions League campaign as the team will most certainly be relying on him in their clash with the Spanish Giants Real Madrid in the all-important final. If Liverpool clenches the win then it can be said without a doubt that Mohamed Salah will be a front runner to receiving the prestigious Ballon d’Or award, which is presented to the player deemed to have given the best performance in the previous calendar year via votes from international journalists, national coaches and captains.
Mohamed Salah has therefore earned himself quite a reputation with fans worldwide; football fans admire the game that Salah presents before them regardless of whichever team they support.
But Salah has also made them more affectionate towards Islam. During the past few years Islam has been the focus of much scrutiny and Muslims around the world pay the price of what misguided extremists deem just. There is even a term for it “Islamophobia”, a dislike for Islam and there seemed to be no way of countering such sentiments. That was before Mohamed Salah came to the forefront. He has won the hearts of people from all walks of life not just his fans, he bows before Allah on the ground after every match he scores in, his mannerisms on and off the pitch stand as a testament to the way of Islam and he engages in many charitable acts, so it’s plain to see why he is so well liked by the English.
The world has spared no effort in showing their love for the Egyptian King. The vice president of the municipality in Mecca plans on granting Salah a piece of land in the Muslim holy land, Mecca for his great performance as a footballer and for his vital role as an ambassador of Islam. If anyone needs evidence of a footballer’s influence on his fans, or evidence of the changing social perception of Muslims then he need only watch a Liverpool match and listen to the chant that says “and If it’s good enough for you then I’ll be Muslim too”.