Five teams, one passion

With four of its five World Cup finalists making their tournament debut this year, football fever has descended on Africa.

by
    One Togo shirt to go, please

    Across the continent everyone’s talking about the tournament as decisions are made on where to watch the games and which friends to bring along.

    Even in countries which haven't made it to the final, sports bars and pubs are battling to outdo each with gimmicks and promotions to best lure in football fans.

    Free football jerseys are on offer, drinks are on promotion and special menus have been named after famous stars - all to ensure the football spirit flows freely.

    This excitement translates into big business for the enterprising entrepreneur and streets vendors are taking full advantage of the football craze.

    Anything goes here; watches, caps, jerseys, flags and horns from different countries. In fact anything depicting the World Cup is hot property.

    Brisk sales

    'Allez Les Elephants' - the mascot
    for the Ivory Coast team

    At a streetmark in the Nairobi slum neighbourhood of Eastleigh, stallholder Damon Gerard is doing brisk business. He’s happy with the sales - for him the World Cup has seen business boom.

    "I sold four T-shirts today and yesterday I sold more," says Damon. "Fans definitely want shirts to wear when the World Cup begins. I sell them for about $10 but sometimes customers can negotiate a cheaper price."

    With the average weekly wage in Kenya at about $22, that's no small outlay, even for the die-hard fan.

    It's the same across the continent, especially in countries that will be represented in Germany.

    In West Africa, home to three of the five team representing the continent the streets are a hive of activity.

    At a market in the tiny nation of Togo the streets are awash with memorabilia from all over the world to entice the football enthusiast.

    Changing loyalties 

    Nairobi stallholder Damon Gerard
    is backing Brazil
     

    "Business has been good since Togo made it to the World Cup," says street vendor David Allipoeh. "Before our country qualified no one wanted a Togolese football jersey. They wanted the ones from Arsenal, Real Madrid and Manchester United."

    For David this is more than just business. The more he sells the more money he takes home to his family.

    He still lives at home. His mother sells vegetables on the streets and the money he makes helps her take care of his three siblings.

    World Cup time is when he can makes a killing, and he does.

    "Before the World Cup I sold one or two football shirts a month. I had to sell cigarettes, cooking oil and second hand clothes to get enough money. Sometimes what I made couldn’t even buy bread and milk for the next day."

    Footie shirts are hot property
    across Africa

    Things are different for now. He may not be swimming in money, but compared to his life before football fever gripped the continent, he is doing much better.

    He can get up to $10 for Togolese football jersey. The likes of Brazil and England can fetch more. In Angola a team t-shirt fetches up to $18.

    Thanks to the football craze sweeping the continent vendors like Damon and David are taking home a little extra money, which goes a long way in making sure there is food on the table for their families.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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