Rwanda’s Petit Stade was at full capacities with football fans recently. The Champions league semi-final first leg tie that pitched 2006 finalist Arsenal against defending champions Manchester United was screened on the big screen courtesy of the Ministry of Sports and culture in partnership with Heineken.
Peter Scope, a football fan and also in charge of finance at the Ministry revealed that there were approximately 1,430 people inside the hall by the end of the match.
Saddened Arsenal fans left the hall with gloomy faces though some were convinced the best was still to come during the recap next week. Also in attendance was the Minister for Sports and Culture, Joseph Habineza.
John Oshea scored at the 18th minute of the match and Arsenal fans kept on hoping against time that they would equalize but as the minutes ticked they went silent one by one.
However, even in the midst of “Sir Alex Fergusson” chanting, the Gunners as they call themselves managed to keep their heads up.
80 percent of the crowd was men. The few ladies present looked out of place and leaves one wondering whether football was meant for men only. At the second half, the adrenaline in the hall could be smelt.
One “Captain Morgan” as he requested to be felt could hardly pronounce the bartender’s name even after claiming that he was his ‘best’ player.
“This bartender is not showing off his talent tonight!” he kept saying in disappointment. Thanks to the number of Heineken bottles he had consumed.
The smart sportily dressed Minister left immediately after the match with observers concluding by the look on his face that he must have been an Arsenal fan.
However it must be noted that unlike other countries where people physically sort out their differences while watching such matches, it was such a beautiful thing to see Rwandans united together at the stadium where two weeks ago they had assembled again during the ‘cyunamo’ week.
All the same, the event was well organized and orderly.
Football has for ages proved to be a powerful force with a unique capacity to bring people together.
With the powerful wave of the premier ship league and people sharing collective hate towards a certain team has united them and love for another, regardless of their age, colour or dialect.
A football team sets a perfect Unity and perseverance example for everyone. The groups of players, each from a different background, train together and perform in such a harmonious rhythm that each complements the other.