The political implications of Football

For all those of you who don’t know, the African Cup of Nations is starting this week-end, in Angola. (16 African national teams playing in a 20 days tournament).

For twenty days, our lives and attention will follow the rhythm of the tournament. It’s insane how a soccer match could turn Abidjan down for a few hours, let alone one of the CAN.

The favorite team  this year is clearly Ivory Coast. No matter what happens, Ivorians are going to expect a big performance from the boys this month: Didier Drogba, Yaya Touré, Salomon Kalou…

I wonder how tense the big guns of the politics are right now. Probably more nervous that the players themselves. They know how important the results of these football matches are to the public opinion. People would go into war because of these matches.

I love the national team. I was given bought the 60€ jersey and everything. I will hack the internet to watch the games, for sure (i don’t have moneys to pay for PPW these days).

But deep inside, sometimes I wish they would fail miserably. Getting beat 0-3 by crap teams. Like what they did before being sent to boot camp a couple of years ago. How embarrassing would it be for the government. Very. Everyone would realize, that after all, life sucks in Ivory Coast as of lately. That in ten years, the only thing we managed to get better in is football. I’m not even sure we got better in war. People won’t enjoy it that much, really. And honestly, I’m not so sure they would vote the same way.

How random is it that the destiny of a country depends on a penalty shot, a free kick, how wet the grass was that day. So many people get along with that though. Politicians get all the props for the national team, really. Look at Cameroon, it’s not such a great country. They don’t have as many paved roads as we have (what an argument). But they have a good football team. And the guy has been there for 25 years!

Sometimes I take bets on football matches. I bet against the team I support. So that whatever the result is, I have something to win. Whatever!

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