Three dollars to Cairo

The football tournament Afcon ended on Friday night but with the tournament conclusion comes stories of how several Namibian football lovers journeyed to watch some matches.

22 July 2019 | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMI



The Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) is a prestigious football tournament in Africa, bringing together best footballing countries to compete against each other for the coveted title.

Namibia, after a long 10-year hiatus, returned to the grand stage competing at the tournament in what was called the group of death.

Many across the country could not travel to witness the country compete, but for some lucky few, dreams of witnessing the competition came true through a SMS competition which was run by mobile communications company MTC.

MTC announced their first batch of winners on 12 June. These four winners, namely Paulus Pataya and Ute Tjiriange with selected companions, travelled to Egypt to watch the Brave Warriors play against Morocco, Ivory Coast and South Africa. The Warriors did not make it past the group stages, but the memories these winners made were priceless.

The second batch of winners followed soon after with football fans Lavinia and Maria Uutoni, as well as Petrus Kalola and Mathilde Fillipus, flying to Egypt for a week to witness the grand finale.

They were also privileged to watch the third-place playoffs between Tunisia and Nigeria. The latter emerged victorious after beating Tunisia 1-0.

“I personally enjoy the way the Nigerians dance and sing at stadiums hence the fact that I decided to support them. A lot of people we met at the stadium actually believed that we were from Nigeria.

“The thing with us Namibians is that we generally just enjoy football and once our team is out we continue to support our neighbours. But I guess the Nigerians knew otherwise, because most of the supporters know each other very well, as they come from supporters clubs.

“This is actually a great initiative on their part. They are very passionate fans because they travel all the way to support their team. I think Namibia can learn a lot in this regard,” said Maria.

Maria's story of how she got to travel to Egypt is quite simple. She entered the competition three times. An SMS cost a mere N$3. “I think MTC contacted a couple of other people before me. But I understand that those people didn't have travelling documents and that is how they ended up picking me. Call me lucky,” chuckled Maria, a final-year accounting student at the University of Namibia.

Lavinia, her cousin who is a third-year law student at the same university, accompanied her on the trip. She shared some of her sentiments saying that the matches were exciting and united people who were mere strangers to one another, even just for the duration of the matches. “I played football back in high school and I'm passionate about the game. I'm also very much into fitness so I really enjoyed the two matches.”

She further said that she experienced cultural shock when she arrived in the country as the people were deeply religious and used to a certain way of doing things.

“We stayed in Giza. It is pretty humid. This means that one cannot really be out and about in long-sleeved clothes. In Namibia when it's hot we normally dress in shorts. But it is so different here because wearing that means that people will stare at you all day in disapproval.

“A bit uncomfortable but I guess it's who they are,” she said.

She further said that the best part of the trip was sitting in a stadium with close to 70 000 people as Algeria and Senegal competed for the trophy.

“The noise was electrifying. We entered the stadium quite late on the last day as security closed the gates three hours before kickoff, something to do with fans not allowed to enter the field after the president has taken his chair.

“We had to stand outside and only managed to enter close to halftime. Had we known this earlier, we would have made our way to the stadium a little earlier to avoid the inconvenience, but nonetheless, it was a worthwhile experience because we travelled from far to watch the final. I think luck was on our side.

“During our wait outside we got to meet people from all over the continent behind the fence. Can you imagine, I have never met someone from Central Africa, or Sudan for that matter. Some didn't have tickets, and were just waiting for the chance to be allowed in. Football is truly a big thing,” she said.

Another winner of the competition, Petrus Mwaudanawa, said he was supporting Algeria throughout the tournament.

“The guys just know how to play football. No one believed me when I said that Algeria will win.

“I met so many people during my stay in Egypt and will always cherish the memories I have made. I have pictures which I will share with my family. Maybe one day I will return to Egypt for another visit,” he said.

Mathilde Fillipus, whom he had picked to accompany him on the trip, said she was overwhelmed by the country. “Nobody slept after the match. The Algerian people were screaming in the corridors all night. They were really happy to have won the tournament. I'm actually happy they won, even though I was supporting Senegal because I was scared of the after-effects, had they lost.

“A local told me that they can become a bit unruly and cause fights so I didn't want to see any of that happening,” she added.

Lilian Simataa, who was also watching the match live from Cairo, said she wishes Namibia would one day make the nation proud by reaching the finals.

“We have a young, brilliant team with a lot of potential. I know that with the right coaching tactics and investment the players will reach their goals.”

She further said that hosting a tournament of such magnitude is also possible if Namibia invests in infrastructure.

Similar News

 

NFA elective congress set for February

1 day - 06 December 2019 | Sports

NAMPA The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) Normalisation Committee (NC) at the Namibia Football Association (NFA) announced...

Date night for Lukas

1 day - 06 December 2019 | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMI Local boxer Sakaria 'Desert Storm' Lukas will step into the ring against Malawi’s Yamikikani Mkandawire 'at the Rising Stars of...

Fans ready for heavyweight mayhem

1 day - 06 December 2019 | Sports

Namibian boxing fans are hedging their bets ahead of the much-anticipated rematch between heavyweight superstars Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr at the Diriyah Arena...

Dash through the desert

1 day - 06 December 2019 | Sports

This year's edition of the Nedbank Desert Dash will kick off today at the Grove Mall and end tomorrow at the Platz Am Meer shopping...

Dog anti-terrorism drills for Tokyo 2020

2 days ago - 05 December 2019 | Sports

Japanese officials undertook anti-terrorism drills involving dogs trained to detect suspicious items, including explosives, at Tokyo Station yesterday, as they ramped up security preparations for...

Tiger's aura has dimmed - Els

2 days ago - 05 December 2019 | Sports

Ernie Els says Tiger Woods has lost some of his aura, but the skipper of the international team will not be underestimating his superstar counterpart...

Fiji to postpone sporting contests

2 days ago - 05 December 2019 | Sports

Fiji has asked its sports federations to postpone all competitions until January, in a bid to rein in the spread of a measles outbreak that...

Folau feels 'vindicated'

2 days ago - 05 December 2019 | Sports

Israel Folau said this week he had been “vindicated” after a surprise settlement with Rugby Australia ended the former Wallaby's divisive, multimillion-dollar lawsuit over his...

Knockout beneficiaries score big

2 days ago - 05 December 2019 | Sports

Four organisations with track records in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV) are the beneficiaries of the proceeds from the MTC Knockout boxing project held...

Festive sporting fun with Bank Windhoek

2 days ago - 05 December 2019 | Sports

Bank Windhoek will host the annual Summer Festival this holiday season for visitors to the coast from 6 to 21 December. The festival has lined...

Latest News

Creating a digital mindset for...

1 day - 06 December 2019 | Opinion

Jason AverbookDo you ever look back on your New Year’s resolutions (if you make them)? Do you even remember what they were? Maybe you resolve...

Article 47 bites back at...

1 day - 06 December 2019 | Politics

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has approached attorney-general Albert Kawana for legal advice on how to deal with the situation arising from its enforcement...

Retrenched fishermen narrate ordeal

1 day - 06 December 2019 | Fishing

“My car was repossessed by the bank as I could no longer honour my payment obligations,” Sylvester Mbadi, a former employee of Namsov, has told...

Economic misery fuels suicides

1 day - 06 December 2019 | Health

Close to 400 people died by suicide between January and September 2019 and experts warn that Namibia's economic crisis, lack of jobs and the crippling...

Highly mechanised

1 day - 06 December 2019 | People

Justicia Shipena Vivacious Marco Swart is a mechanical technician in the packaging engineering department at Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) - a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver...

Compassion is the new fashion

1 day - 06 December 2019 | People

Evany van WykMarizelle Pienaar lives by the motto, “the more you have to do, the more you get done.” She believes in being a balanced...

Never say never

1 day - 06 December 2019 | People

Mariselle StofbergHester Uushona is a firm believer that being average in life is not an option. She strives towards making her mark while providing others...

Not all with be festive

1 day - 06 December 2019 | Columns

As the festive season approaches in full-force, many are yearning to spend time with their loved ones away from the stress work and the accompanying...

Talent knows no borders

1 day - 06 December 2019 | Cultural

Ester Kamati Still digesting the news after receiving his award on 30 November in Burkina Faso, Visagie is passionate about ensuring that the arts are...

Load More