I checked to see how the dramatic 48 hours that saw the announcement and crumbling of the breakaway European Super League last week were playing out locally and around Africa. The news hardly seemed to register in the normally ardent fandom of European football in the continent. Even in the local and regional mainstream media there appeared to be no more than passing interest. One would have expected a bit more interest given the fans’ relationship with the clubs that were to be involved, and particularly the English “Big Six” that were to anchor the proposed elite league. Ask any fan in the continent of the club they support and chances are it is either of the six – Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and the two Manchester clubs, City and United. A clash involving the six with each other is the stuff of high drama and usually peppered with taunts rival fans hurl at each other on social media. Like many fans, I have been in Kigali’s ambient sports bars, which are similar to those in cities in the region and the continent. The boisterous rivalry plays out the same when they pack the venues to watch the riveting matches. Therefore, given the leagues promise to “deliver excitement and drama never before seen in football,” and that it would give the topflight clubs more chances to play each other, the more the ambivalent response by the African fandom stood out. There could be any number of reasons why, and one of them might be because they had no say in the matter. But I suspected it had something to do with the idea of the founding clubs playing in perpetuity, without fear of relegation. The plan was for 20 clubs to compete, where fifteen “founding” clubs including from Spain and Italy would have been guaranteed a spot every year. Germany and France had declined to join the league at the outset, but the remaining five places would have been awarded competitively from around Europe. There is no question that the big matches would have brought in more viewers and more money. It was projected that broadcasting rights might have generated $4.8 billion a year, which would have almost doubled the $2.8 billion the Champions League took in the 2018-2019 season. But while it would have handsomely profited the clubs, some of which are wallowing in debt, the idea of the league turned out to be misjudged opportunism of its rich backers – an alliance of American billionaires, Russian oligarchs, European industrial tycoons and Gulf royals, who own the clubs. The organisers had not anticipated or had overlooked, that football is about community and so woven in the European and especially British cultural fabric that the fury that erupted was bound to at the news of the breakaway league. And, joined by star players and managers such as Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp, as well as major commentators such Gary Neville, they were concerned that the Super League would have destroyed the premise of open competition, a treasured feature of the Champions League. With the popular condemnation gaining pace, it also attracted unprecedented political interest in the UK, which vowed to ensure the league doesn’t come into being. Television networks and sponsors also come out against the breakaway plan. The first cracks to the entire enterprise however began to show when the Chelsea match against Brighton last Tuesday was held up as fans stopped the team bus from arriving at the stadium. It didn’t long before Chelsea announced its exit from the Super League, just after Manchester City a short while before. Most of the so-called “dirty dozen” that had initially signed up would follow in short order. And the rest is now history. African fans may have appeared ambivalent, but they must have been watching all this unfold. They couldn’t have failed to sympathise with the condemnation of the doomed league.