Sunday June 22 2014

It is not everyone’s World Cup

By Jan Ajwang

The games are on and suddenly everyone is a commentator, an analyst, a fan, while others are just on the fence! I was distracted by these two men across the room, in deep discussion; they expressed their frustration about ‘our’ team’s ability to take charge of a game and were sceptical about any chances to excel in the tournament. Ironically several sections of the media here have come very shorty of saying England could take the day!

Well, as the chat continued, I was impressed by a rare perspective of England’s chances until South Africa, and New Zealand came into the picture! They were speaking of the Wales Rugby team in the ongoing international games. This was at a time when the tempo on Brazil 2014 was really high and any eavesdropper would have been disappointed at their ‘lack of awareness’.

Just when, I thought it was just these two guys, it has since become obvious that some of the local residents are more keen on any results about Wales in the ongoing International games compared to any news from Brazil where England is/ was participating. Fans have travelled to South Africa and not to Brazil.

Perhaps understandable that this was because Wales is participating in the Rugby games and not football as England is. It is the international students from participating countries that are fuelling interest and support. The most support is from the Chinese students going to pubs to watch the game in numbers and the right Jerseys. I dared ask a group of Chinese friends which teams they were vouching for and I got this ‘what- are you-talking- about? Look.

It didn’t matter to most of them, it was World Cup! And so with the Chinese spirit in, I spoke to a colleague from Nigeria about the games, only for her to blink. She had no idea about the tournament or when it was starting, let alone the fact that her country was participating.

While watching with a friend from India, besides having to explain bits of what was going on in a match, I had to also listen to her highlights about India’s legacy with cricket and great legends like Sachin Tendulkar. So while we were at it , I was also learnt more about cricket and of course 90 minutes were too short for a cricket game!. To each his own!