Arab singers root for Algeria in World Cup

Palestinian Arab Idol singer Mohammed Assaf performs during the 13th Mawazine Rhythms of the World music festival in Rabat on May 30. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal
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A trio of Arab talent show winners have revealed their picks for the World Cup.

Arab Idol's Mohammed Assaf, The Voice's Mourad Bouriki and Star Academy champion Nassif Zeytoun said they will pay attention to the tournament when it kicks off in Brazil on June 12.

Speaking from the Mawazine Festival in the Moroccan capital of Rabat, the artists are united in their support for Algeria, the only Arab nation competing in the event.

"While I love watching matches involving Brazil and Germany, my heart will be with Algeria because I love the country and its beautiful people," said the 2012 Arab Idol winner Assaf.

"There is only team for me," stated Bouriki, winner of the 2012 season of The Voice. "It's Algeria all the way as they carry the hopes of this region. I feel that it is my duty to follow their progress."

Zeytoun admitted that he is no football lover, but he makes special exceptions when it comes to the World Cup.

"That's when I sit down and really follow what's going on," said the 2010 Star Academy winner. "To show you how much I don't follow football, I was originally only going for Brazil. But only recently I found out that Algeria qualified and they are the only Arab country, so now I just have to go for them."

Assaf’s involvement with the World Cup will not be limited to fandom. This week the 24-year-old will embark on an ambitious project, titled #Assaf360, to record a World Cup anthem.

The singer will enter a Dubai studio on Tuesday along with a production team led by the American pop-producer Rodney Jerkins. The goal is to create a Fifa-certified World Cup song from scratch all in a space of 24 hours.

Fans have until Tuesday 8am (the beginning of the production) to tweet or Facebook suggested lyrics under the hashtag #Assaf360.

The project aims to have the song completed, recorded and ready for download on iTunes and the Arab music platform Anghami by Wednesday at 8am.

The marathon session will be streamed live on and clips from the session will be broadcast live throughout the day on MBC 1.

For more details or to watch the live stream, visit

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