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For Africans, Soccer Offers Temporary Unity

January 31, 2008 07:22 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The African Cup of Nations kicked off on Jan. 20. in Ghana. The three-week soccer event sidelines political and social tensions on the continent.

30-Second Summary

As the biggest sports event in Africa, the African Nations Cup is as much about national pride as it is about athletic prowess.

Victory is a welcome opportunity for developing countries to celebrate their national identities, as evidenced by the jubilation that followed Mali’s defeat of Benin last week.

A BBC reader from Cameroon writes, “Football to a Cameroonian is like food to a hungry man. Cameroonians love football and they will do anything to watch a match of football. It is our source of pride.”

According to other soccer fans commenting on the BBC Web site, a shared passion for soccer unifies Africans.

Soccer has even been credited with quelling internal tensions in the Ivory Coast. When the country qualified for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, there was jubilation in both the government-controlled north and the rebel-held south.

Players on the Ivory Coast national team—who come from different regions of the country—became official spokesmen for peace in a country torn by civil conflict.

View AFP coverage

Headline Links: Ivory Coast advances

Opinion & Analysis: Soccer in Africa

Soccer is a big deal in Africa
 Soccer’s power to unify

Reference: African Nations Cup coverage


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