Mar
15
2008
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Angola – Victory Is Assured

Tn Manuel Farrusco’s bar, some three dozen men are now crowded around the old col our TV. They are watch ing the first halt of a top game in rhe Angolan first division, Atletico Sport Aviacao againsi Arletico Petroleos de Luanda. Angola is a wealthy country. Some clubs are sponsored by oil companies, are named after them or have a derrick on the club crest. Daily oil production from the offshore oil fields is already almost half that of Kuwait. Fhere is huge potential. Yer the billions end up in die pockets of a corrupt elite. In Oncoeua, far away from rhe capital, Luanda, hardly anything trickles through.
All of a sudden the screen goes black. The wind has picked up and is interfering with the satellite reception. Unperturbed, the men leave the room. Two days later, no one in the village has found out the result. ”During the 2006 World Cup, we even lost the power generator once or twice,” says Farrusco. ”The interest was tremendous, half the village wanted to see the game against Portugal. And we only lost 1-0. We got two draws as well, against Iran and Mexico.” In Oncoeua, they still enthuse about Angola’s first ever World Cup appearance as if it were yesterday.
Standing next to the bar owner is Joao Baprista, the village police chief. He is holding a bottle ol N’Gola, a popular beer named after the countrys former kings. “Angola has been torn apart by the war” the policeman says, “Here, unity begins with football. It unites us.” He doesn’t just say it. He shours it. The fact that the national team went our of the World Cup in Germany at the end of rhe group stage does nothing to dampen his optimism. On the contrary: “In South Africa in 2010, well play much better and well win a few games as well.”
What makes him so sure? Baptista pulls a bundle of kwanza notes from his pocket. He assumes a confident air and taps his finger on the sentence that adorns every Angolan banknote. A sentence like a battle cry that has followed Angolans around for over 30 years. A sentence that sounds like a call for perseverance: A Vitoria E Certa – victory is assured.