English Premier League: Is it just a football league match in Ethiopia ?

On December 27, 2010, the matter that many people were pondering in the campus of Arba Minch University, including myself, was where to watch the most mouth watering clash of the two London titans Arsenal & Chelsea as there was no service of Ds TV was intermittent this days. Honestly speaking we feel the cold weather of England in tropics when we could not manage to watch a kind of big game.

It has been a little while since the DSTV which brings all the staff to my home had become just a dust bin. After all who cares about watching ETV? So I was faced with a dilemma – do I travel 5km to Sikela town and watch it at one of the DSTV houses, which would be risky for many safety measures as I have been hearing stories of stabbing of late night or I should stay in the campus in the hope that the Ds TV   would be fixed suddenly so that I could watch it in one of my friends house? Do not forget that my second option is more risky in terms of missing the match as Ds TV might not be fixed in the campus.

In the end I did neither. Lately on Monday night, I am told about new DSTV halls 1km away from the university campus, Limat. I arrive five minutes after kick-off. A young man, who works in campus of the university, who seems to recognize me, offers a wide, genuine smile and gave me a homemade chair before leading me behind a shabby dark house that seems to serve to chew Khat for university students.

As I start to walk, I see Abayaheneh a famous character in our campus, which has courageously survived a heavy damage of his brain from a bike crash. He has come to watch the match by splashing the money that he has been collecting all the day by shoe shining from the university teachers. ‘’The university DSTV is not working, so I had to come here, after who would permit me to watch my beloved league in the campus “he says.

The owner, Mohammed Shade, a stocky, busy-looking man, passes us halfway. “Give me 5 Birr 0[$0.30],” he says intolerantly, leaving his right hand drawn out behind him.

The unfinished shabby house shelter is about 7m by 8m small, built with bricks, with grass thatches supported by sticks. It is already packed. My home made chair – others are seated on flat timbers – is placed just in front of the table from which the 27 inch TV set is broadcasting the game of two sides of a British metropolitan Capital, London. The house was packed and it is hot like hell. As soon as I sit to enjoy the game I started to fear what would happen when I go home after the much. There are a lot of football gangs who are ready to stab you any time but I risk being stabbed and as the game progressed I totally stop thinking about my post match menaces from football gangs.

And the impression is much more exciting than appears in some sections of the Emirate stadium crowd. Every pass by Arsenal is met with applauds from Arsenal fans. And whenever Drogba gets on the ball another section of Chelsea fans cheers. Very small children as old as eight seated on the bare earth at the front. I bet these children say the name of every player on pitch better than an average British football fan in England.

When Alex Song, who is dearly loved by Arsenal fans in Arba Minch, fired an excellent left-foot shot into the back of the net, the euphoria is deafening. “Weyalaw Zem, Weyalaw Zem Weyalaw Zem,”  – keep silent you lowly- they laugh and clap, believing Chelsea were on their way home. Then it was half time some fans started to walk out for a break the remaining remained seated with hot discussion about the goal. Some were reciting what Arsene Wenger had said on press conference by reading from an Amharic newspaper called “The Gunners”  I have seen how fans of one team loathe their rivals with a passion So, Manchester United fans had joined Arsenal’s to celebrate two second half goals believing Arsenal is not good enough to challenge Manchester United compared to Chelsea.

The next morning on our breakfast almost every Arba Minch University were talking about the game some Manchester United were equally happy with Arsenal fans. Chelsea was a common enemy for the night. The Manchester United fans celebrated the fall of a common enemy, Chelsea.

But  English Premier League is expensive. For some it is cultural imperialism as its Hollywood counter parts for others it is just one form of entertainment. What do you think? Please your opinions!

 

2 Comments

  1. thank u for your article endalk. It is really amazing that English premier league nowadays seems to be taken as perhaps an equivalent to their goal to most adults.
    I have one experience about this issue. one day I asked my students to arrange me a make up class for my course. some said Saturday night is ok, we can come. but almost half said there is a big derby game that night. I asked the claimers of the second idea, what is the problem with the class then? they respond to me , it is just more than entertainment we should attend the game please. while I was a student I noticed that libraries during exams are extermly crowded unable to serve the number of students. but at the same period if there is a game, most of the university services( internet pools and libraries) will be free. the type of advocacy perhaps- the musics with the big montarbo prior to the game seems it is a must for every one to attend the game. by the way I am also a fun of football. but not to the extent like saving documents on computers with file name with the name of players, making my homepage goal.com, arguing with others …..
    it is really good article and I say go on keep it up.

  2. Hi,
    I still don’t quite get why the English premiership should be quite so popular in Ethiopia. I’m from the UK but probably care less about the results of Man U, Chelsea etc than most people I’ve met in Mekelle. OK, I’m a Southampton fan, so few chances to see them on DSTV, and ever fewer chances to see them play well. I heard that during the world cup games, some of the students at Mekelle Uni asked for their exams to be rescheduled so as not to clash with the football fixtures, needless to say they weren’t taken very seriously.
    Whatever obscene amount anyone gets paid to play it, it’s still just a game 🙂
    Enjoying your blog though!
    Cheers,
    Alex

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