A young boy who went viral with a video of him putting on a brave face after the loss of his favorite Argentina to Saudi Arabia is having a dream-come-true moment, thanks to a Dubai-based travel agency. Smart Travels is taking Mohammed Nibras, an eighth grader from Kerala to Qatar to watch Argentina take on Netherlands in their quarterfinal battle.
“I never imagined that I would be able to watch Argentina live,” said the excited 13-year-old, speaking to Khaleej Times over the phone. He landed in Dubai earlier this week and was on his way by road to Qatar late Friday night. “My favourite player is Messi. I hope I get to see him score.”
Nibras, who hails from the town of Thrikkaripur in Kerala’s northernmost district of Kasargod, was teased relentlessly by his friends after Argentina’s shock 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia on November 22. “They have just lost one match, they will come back and win,” Nibras can be seen saying while struggling to fight back tears in the video that immediately went viral, racking millions of views.
Afi Ahmed, owner of Smart Travels, said that it was Nibras’ attitude that impressed him the most. “Even in the face of defeat, he was confident that his team would bounce back and perform well,” he said. “That positive attitude in someone as young as Nibras really captured my attention. I wanted to make sure he was rewarded for it.”
Blessing in disguise
“They are all Brazil fans, and they were just trying to wind me up,” said Nibras, about his neighbour Fawaz and his friends who shot and posted the video on social media. “I didn’t realize they were recording me but soon after it was posted on social media, it went viral. Initially I was angry about the video but now I am thankful.”
The youngster now has a following of 26,000 people on Instagram and has met several high-profile sports stars and celebrities after this video. However, the biggest surprise came from Smart Travels. “The agency called my parents and said they want to give us a memento,” he said. “We went there and while on stage, it was announced that they would fly me to Qatar. I was so so excited.”
Nibras then excitedly shared the news with his friends and classmates. “They all said that if it would have gotten them a trip to Qatar, they would have also cried,” chuckled the youngster.
Since arriving in Dubai, Nibras has had a whirlwind tour around the city. “I have been to Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa, Dubai Frame and Museum of the Future,” he said. “It is so amazing. I love the city.”
The teenager, whose father is based in Malaysia, has two younger sisters. “They are a little jealous that I came to Dubai,” he said. “But that is okay. I will buy them some chocolates before going.”
Nibras, who is a football player himself, is a member of his school football team and likes to play centre-forward.