News / Africa

Win or Lose, African Fans Celebrate Africa World Cup

World Cup Fever has taken over South Africa.  Pubs and restaurants across the country are filled with fans watching the matches.  But the atmosphere is even more electric when an African team is playing. Members of Johannesburg's Nigerian community are enjoying the tournament.

Nigerian football fans, many dressed from head to toe in their green and white national colors, staged an impromptu parade through the streets of Hillbrow, central Johannesburg, before their football team's match against Argentina (Friday).

Thousands of Nigerians live and work in South Africa, far from their families.  But, when they get together, the food, the music and the conversation make it feel like home.

This World Cup has special significance here.  It is the first football World Cup on African soil.  And, because host South Africa was automatically qualified, six African teams are participating for the first time in history.

This is giving African fans a lot to cheer about.

Philip, who did not give his last name, was on his way to the stadium.  He says seeing the World Cup in Africa is one of the greatest moments of his life.

"I spend money to buy my ticket and I will be the happiest person to go to the stadium today and watch the football and see my brothers there," he said.

Nearly three million tickets have been sold to the 64 matches being played in nine cities.

Eighty-five percent of the tickets were sold to people living in South Africa.  But ticket sales in other African countries were lower than expected.

The secretary of the Nigerian Union in South Africa, Prince Adesina, speaking at a café in nearby Yeoville, said the system was too complicated.

"It's very, very strenuous. I think there should be another system of getting these tickets sold to people. It is not all that easy," he said.

FIFA, the world football association, marketed most of the tickets on its web site, saying this would make them available to people everywhere.

But many people in Africa do not have access to computers or do not have the bank credit card needed to buy products through the web.

Toward the end, FIFA did sell tickets over the counter in some South African cities and demand was high.  But, for many, it was too late.

Others said that even the cheapest ticket, about $20 and available only in South Africa, was too much for their budget.

But those who could not get a ticket still celebrated in the fan parks, on the streets and in the cafes and pubs.

On the night of Nigeria's first World Cup match, the party started early at the Green House pub.  The drinks flowed freely.

That made for some ambitious predictions from fans like Charles Umah.

"We know that already Nigeria has won the game.  We are just looking for the replay of the game," he said.

As the teams came out onto the pitch, the crowd sang a Nigerian song. And, when Nigeria nearly scored, pandemonium broke out.

But Argentina scored a few minutes later and held on to win by a score of 1-0.

Although the mood was dampened somewhat, Adesina said it still was a wonderful experience.  He said African fans should come together and root for the African teams.

"When Ivory Coast is playing I'm going to be on [wearing] Ivory Coast jersey.  I'm going to support all the African teams.  And, we want to make sure that the cup is retained in Africa," he said.

He said such unity would be one of the legacies of the World Cup.

The loss did not stop the party. The celebrations continued into the early morning hours. For, although it was a tough night for Nigeria on the pitch (playing field), it was still a good time football fans in South Africa.

And all agreed that, with nearly one month to go before the final on July 11, there will be many more opportunities for their teams to score and for fans to celebrate Africa's World Cup.

You May Like

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

Border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared their stories More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs