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


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


It was tough - Tomas

22 hours ago | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMI Namibian long-distance runners Rainhold Tomas and Alina Armas are the winners of the 19th edition of the Old Mutual Victory Race in the...

Stars revamp coaching staff

22 hours ago | Sports

African Stars have announced the appointment of Mervin Mbakera as the assistant coach to Mohamed Gargo, in place of Andrew Tjahikika.According to a media release,...

The circus continues

22 hours ago | Sports

Limba MupetamiThe Namibia Premier League (NPL) is a circus. I'm sure everyone knows that by now. Firstly, we are forced to go and watch football...

Cheetahs edge Pumas in Nelspruit thriller

22 hours ago | Sports

The Cheetahs overturned a halftime deficit to win 43-37 against the Pumas in their Currie Cup match at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday....

Boxers hyped for the African Games

22 hours ago | Sports

The eight amateur boxers selected to represent Namibia at the 2019 African Games in Morocco are looking forward to bringing silverware back home when the...

SA athletes prepare for 50km world champs

22 hours ago | Sports

The 12-member SA team have entered the final stages of preparation for the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) 50km world championships in Brasov, Romania, as...

Morocco too good for Namibia

22 hours ago | Sports

Namibia's women beach volleyball team of Kim Seebach and Kristin Schulz lost their second match of the competition to hosts Morocco on Friday at the...

Nampol win SARPCCO football and 32 medals

22 hours ago | Sports

Nampol emerged as the overall champions in the football competition of the 2019 Southern Africa Regional Police Chiefs Coordination Organisation (SARPCCO) Games held in Luanda,...

A first for Namibia

22 hours ago | Sports

LIMBA MUPTAMI The Namibia Paralympic Committee (NPC) is not sitting back and allowing a lack of resources to pull it down, and has roped in...

Dippenaar wins Shell V-Power Rally

22 hours ago | Sports

Adolf KaureTwenty drivers and navigators competed in the 2019 edition of the Shell V-Power Rally, which took place on Saturday in Walvis Bay.Wilro Dippenaar, with...

Latest News

Kärcher Centre Taurus opens its...

22 hours ago | Business

Windhoekers have been in for a treat since the past Saturday when the first fully fledged Kärcher Centre in Southern Africa outside of South Africa...

Defence spends half a billion...

22 hours ago | Economics

The ministry of defence spent about N$491.7 million for three consecutive financial years without the approval of Treasury.This is in direct contravention of the State...

Daily grind

22 hours ago | Labour

Even though most of Namibia's more than 72 000 domestic workers earn above the minimum N$1 502 a month, close to 80% of them say...

Corpses rot in homes

22 hours ago | Health

Unregistered deaths, including infant mortalities, and corpses being left to rot in homes over weekends, are just some of the challenges being faced by the...

Young mom hacked to death

22 hours ago | Crime

A 23-year-old woman was brutally murdered this past Friday in Kavango West, allegedly by her long-time boyfriend, who hacked her to death with an axe...

It was tough - Tomas

22 hours ago | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMI Namibian long-distance runners Rainhold Tomas and Alina Armas are the winners of the 19th edition of the Old Mutual Victory Race in the...

Uganda, Zambia deny Huawei spying...

22 hours ago | Business

Kampala - Uganda and Zambia on Friday denied a report that employees of Chinese telecom giant Huawei had helped them spy on political opponents.The Wall...

Vetkoek court fight postponed

22 hours ago | Business

Yanna Smith - The High Court matter in which Namib Mills has sued Bokomo Namibia for “dishonest practises in industrial or commercial matters” was postponed...

Import VAT exemption on certain...

22 hours ago | Business

The Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) approached the department of inland revenue to exempt certain animal feed products by Namibian farmers from import value-added tax (VAT)....

Load More