Thu, 08 Dec 2022

Kenyan soccer fans enjoy World Cup fever

Xinhua
23 Nov 2022, 03:30 GMT+10

NAIROBI, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- A wave of excitement is sweeping across Kenya's football fan base as the world's biggest sporting event kicked off thousands of miles away in Qatar.

Ardent local football fans are thronging entertainment joints and designated live-streaming locations to watch the games and display their endearment for soccer.

Business-savvy Kenyans are also riding on this monumental event to make brisk sales.

"I shall watch all the World Cup games till Dec. 18 because I love football. I will watch them from home and if I am not in the house, I will find internet sites that are streaming it live," Sammy Aiyo, a Nairobi-based Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), told Xinhua on Monday.

An elated Aiyo spoke at a packed public viewing session in Nairobi's bustling downtown district when Senegal was facing off against the Netherlands.

The screening was organized by local media houses and partners and will be staged in Kenya's major cities and towns.

"My bet is on England because they have a tight defense, good strikers and overall the team looks indomitable. I have faith in African teams too, but we have seen the withdrawal of good players from those teams which is upsetting," said Aiyo.

Five African countries including Ghana, Cameroon, Senegal, Morocco, and Tunisia, are representing the continent in Qatar, as fans like Aiyo hope they escape group eliminations.

George Wanjiru, a technician, said African Cup of Nations winners Senegal is the leading favorites despite their 2-0 loss to the Netherlands on Monday.

"Senegal still has to battle it out with Qatar and Ecuador; I strongly believe they can pull it off. But it is heartbreaking that Sadio Mane (Senegalese striker) will not be playing; his skills would have helped the team easily sail through," Wanjiru said.

Wanjiru said that although Kenya and broadly east African countries did not make it to the global tournament, he will root behind those that have.

A nightclub owner who did not wish to be mentioned said business had recorded an improvement since Sunday when the games began.

"Men do not like watching football on their own; they prefer groups and better yet in clubs where they can yell without restrictions. Alcohol is moving steadily which is good for business," said the middle-aged entrepreneur.

He conferred to have duly paid for his television subscription and enabled fans to watch and enjoy the World Cup.

The club owner also said as the tournament progresses, he will introduce discounts on beers to encourage more sales.

Other business-savvy Kenyans are designing jerseys for select teams represented in the 64-game tournament. Most jerseys are currently retailing for 1,000 shillings (8.17 U.S. dollars), two dollars more than they usually do.

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