Freetown, Baby!

Home Advantage by jc2010sl
June 23, 2010, 8:15 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

As you’d expect, the World Cup has been greeted with huge excitement in Salone. World cups always create anticipation in football mad countries, and the added spice of the tournament being held for the first time in Africa is palpable.

However, there’s little sense of African solidarity, with people tending to support one of the bigger teams; Brazil, Argentina, or even England. I mentioned my surprise that this was the case to a recent visitor. “Just because you’re European, doesn’t mean you support Belguim, does it” was his response. Fair enough I suppose, but if I lived in Luxembourg I might support Belguim (on the evidence of the last week, I certainly wouldn’t be supporting France). Much as they might love football, Salones would have to admit that they aren’t much above Luxembourg in the football pecking order.
The truth is, Salones are unashamed glory hunters and will support any team they think will win. I asked one of the guards at the flat if he’d be watching the FA Cup Final the other month (English football is huge in Sierra Leone) and who he’d be supporting. “Well,” he said, “I think Chelsea will win.” “Ok, but who will you support?” I insisted. “Well, Chelsea then!” came the reply – as though the likelihood of victory automatically implied as much.

During an interminable wait for a meeting the World Cup came up, and one colleague said he would be supporting Nigeria. His colleagues looked at him incredulously, so he quickly put in, “I know they won’t win, though”. At this point I joked – “Well I’m supporting England, even though we’re not going to win.” A few Salones looked slightly horrified and perplexed.

As if the team’s dire performances weren’t enough, I think I lost England another couple of fans in West Africa.


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