The girls from Star Sports Television might not follow the most orthodox style of journalism but, none the less, they really came up with the goods after the interview they made with Bjorn and I featured on their pan-African sports channel. Viewers in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo now know about ‘The Shirt 2010’ project and our efforts to spread awareness about the world’s millions of refugees. It goes without saying that when you walk down a Tanzanian street and a random passer by tells you “I saw you on the television,” you feel the project is going in the right direction.
One thing I have quickly learned in Kenya and Tanzania is the concept of ‘Africa time’. If somebody tells you they will meet you at 1pm, chances are they will actually turn up at 7pm…or not at all. The prize, however, for the best Africa Time example to date must go to the African Confederations Cup match we attended on Sunday between Simba (Dar es Salaam) and Haras El Hadoud (Egypt). The high profile match was held at the Tanzanian New National Stadium (capacity 65,000) in front of more than 20,000 spectators. OK, so the Kick Off time was supposed to be 4pm; millions awaited live TV coverage in Egypt and Tanzania. But following the rules of Africa Time none of us should have been surprised that the match kicked off 33 minutes late. The reason? There wasn’t one!
The strangest feature of this entertaining match was the decision by more than two thousand rival Tanzanian football fans to turn up and support the Egyptian team, rather than Tanzanian champions Simba. Apparently, rivalries cut so deep in Tanzania that rival fans actually pay good money to turn up and support foreign opponents. It’s the equivalent of 2,000 Everton fans turning up at Anfield to support Benfica if they were playing against Liverpool!
For the record, Simba won Sunday’s match 2-1.