Africa Celebrates Its Football Heroes
The biannual Africa Cup of Nations kicked off over the weekend in Equatorial Guinea, a tournament that pits the finest African national football teams against each other in a fight to… win some some football matches.
“Football?!” I hear you cry. “That doesn’t have anything to do with travel!” Well, technically, you’re right. But our job here is to scratch (or further irritate?) your itchy feet by revealing inspiring, lesser-known sights from all over the world, and there are few more colourful spectacles in the world than several thousand assembled African football fans.
See? AFCON, as we’re cool enough to call it, is often overlooked in favour of other international football tournaments, despite it featuring some of the most ardent, passionate fans in all of sport, and how it transforms parts of Africa into one vibrant party. The fans don’t just turn up to cheer their team and eat pies. They smother themselves in memorabilia and make the most glorious racket to urge their beloved team to victory.
These guys turned up like this to support Angola, a team that has only made it past the first round on two occasions, and fail to qualify at all more often than they make the cut. Does this quell the fervour of their fans? Of course not! That’s true loyalty.
Equatorial Guinea is hosting this year and, as you can see, the fans are likely to be pretty pleased about that. They got the tournament relativelt last-minute, following Morocco’s withdrawal over Ebola fears. They don’t have a good track record, but that doesn’t perturb their support.
Last year’s AFCON was won by Nigeria, who scored the only goal in the final against Burkina Faso. It was their third time being crowned as winners.
Needless to say, the Nigerian fans enjoyed this victory quite a lot.
But in a shocking turn of events, reigning champions Nigeria didn’t qualify for this year’s tournament. So some fans have decided to take it a little easier this time around.
A photo posted by Sami Viiri (@olensami) on
Who can blame them? But for many others football has taken over Africa for the next couple of weeks, offering the perfect reminder of everything good this amazing continent has to offer.