Sunday, September 06, 2015

Liberian chaos and delight

Every country I have lived in has done well in football while I am there, so I have expectations that this would happen to Liberia as well. And yesterday they were playing the first home match since the Ebola outbreak; a qualifier for the Africa Cup of Nations against Tunisia.
The match was not played at the main stadium, SKD, which is under renovation, but at the much smaller Antoinette Tubman stadium. Despite the never-ending rain I had bought myself a ticket for 50 USD, in the "around VIP" section. But when I got to the stadium one hour before the match it was complete chaos: people pushing through to get in whatever entrance; riot police that controlled nothing; and nowhere were there any Football Association assistants or ticket controllers to be seen. At some points it was outright scary, and at 4:30 PM (half an hour after match start) I gave up, as other Liberians with 50-USD tickets were loudly complaining that the Liberian Football Association would never refund the hundreds and hundreds of tickets that they probably have oversold.
It is sad for Liberia that their Football Association cannot even organize a football match...
Fortunately there are the Liberian footballers, normal Liberian guys who fight for their country, who managed to give them a not-entirely-expected 1-0 victory against Tunisia. I did not watch the match, but amid the chaos and heavy rain, I cannot imagine it was a good match, but who cares? Liberia are alive in the qualification: they lost their first match to Togo, but are still to face them and the underdogs from Djibouti at home, as well as what will be a difficult match in Tunisia.
That said, it is great that Liberia got some happiness for this fantastic victory!

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