Sunday, April 25, 2010
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.
Saturday, April 24
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
As I was reliably informed, it takes 24 hours to recover from a scorpion bite. Sure enough, the pain has all but gone as I take breakfast 24 hours later.
We take advantage of REDESO's kind offer to use their office for what we call a 'communication day'. It is vital that we keep up to date with all our blogs, emails and media contacts, but when you are on the road it is sometimes days until you can find decent internet and a place to work.
This is no holiday. Bjorn has been to some amazing places but not done any of the tourist sites. A good example was Cairo - minus the pyramids.
And since I joined him there were no game reserves; no lions and elephants in Kenya. Sadly (for me) there will be no trip to the magical island of Zanzibar from Dar es salaam.
After several hours of blogging two ladies turn up at the office to interview us for one of southern Africa's leading sports channels - Star Sports. I am not entirely sure that they are overly impressed with Bjorn's tales of his trip so far because mid-interview the two ladies start reading a newspaper between themselves. I get the feeling it's a wind up, but it's not :)
Cue film of the two crazy mzungus cycling around outside in the township and our African TV careers advance yet further.
REDESO director Mr Kasaizi kindly takes us to the Tanzanian Football Federation and organises tickets for Sunday's African Confederations Cup match, then we spend the evening in the company of Tanzania's top FIFA-approved Football agent (and owner of Africa Lyon FC), Mehdi.
The man is a top host and treats us to dinner at an excellent Italian restaurant and a couple of beers at one of his favourite clubs before driving us home to the door of our hotel.
Loads more news and photos here:
More info about Africa Lyon Football Club: