This week saw the beginning of the Africa Cup of Nations – a soccer (football) championship. It is being held in Angola and the Malawi team (affectionately known as the flames) is competing for the first time in 26 years. The flames have actually never won a game in the Africa Cup.
Monday night, they played Algeria, one of the favorites to win the cup. Everyone – from drivers to commentators on the French news, to probably the Malawian players themselves, thought this would be a blow-out and Malawi would be lucky if they scored a goal.
While the match wasn’t on any channels on our TV, I could gauge pretty well the outcome by the cheering, honking, and air horns I could hear outside. Sandy called to tell me that Malawi WON, 3-0! We decided to go downtown to experience the revelry – the whole town was going crazy! Every car, bus, and truck was honking – people were hanging out of the cars giving high fives and cheering – people in the street were dancing and singing – it seemed that every single person had a smile on their face. They still have a long way to go before they can take home the cup, but there is an overwhelming sense of optimism and solidarity that I feel lucky to have witnessed.
No pictures, but for the story from our news source, France 24, click here.