Forget the idea that Nigerian women and football don’t always see eye to eye. The just concluded AFCON 2023 had our sisters clutching their pearls and screaming out their lungs for the Super Eagles. Some even admitted that they now understand why men carry face whenever their favourite football club loses a match.
I decided to ask some of these women what piqued their interest this time. Their stories ranged from social media banter to finding escapism amid the country’s many woes.
My husband hasn’t let me hear word in the house since AFCON started. He watches everything, even when Nigeria isn’t playing. However, I didn’t pay any attention until the match against South Africa. He invited our neighbour to watch, and that one came with his wife. When I saw how vested the wife was, I also came to the living room to watch. It was the best unplanned fun I’ve had in a while. We shouted, screamed, and jumped like kids thrown into a candy shop. I almost didn’t want the match to end. Now I’m just waiting for the finals on Sunday; we’re having another joint watch party.
I’m not a fan of football, but I had to follow the AFCON because I’m the social media manager at my place of work. It initially felt like a chore until I started to really notice the banter online. I was cry-laughing a lot of times, and this experience was amplified last Wednesday when Nigeria won against South Africa. I watched the match from start to finish, and it felt like I’d just finished a Netflix special. I’m still not completely sold on the ministry of football, sha. I know it’s not this exciting when you’re on the losing side.
I’m a big fan of football and tennis so you’ll catch me watching either to relax. When AFCON started, I knew I’d be watching because I didn’t want just word-of-mouth stories or the social media highlights. I wanted to witness it first-hand, and I’m glad I did.
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I don’t think I’ve felt as much anxiety as I did on Wednesday. I was just like ‘So this is how my brothers feel when their team loses a match?’
The weird thing is, I wasn’t even following the AFCON thing at all. I got back from work, saw my brothers and their friends watching, and I joined them. That’s how I gave myself an unnecessary headache but thank God we won. I’d have been sad if I invested all that screaming, shouting and worrying, and they lost.
The next morning, I was a wreck from laughter-inducing tweets on X. I guess watching the match gave me proper context that made the online banter almost as good as watching the match. Not sure I’m watching the final but I’m looking forward to the Twitter jabs.
I’m a fan of Nigerian football: I just want my country to beat other countries on the field. So if the national team is involved in any global tournament, you’ll catch me supporting for sure. There’s something about the Super Eagles winning that gives me that sense of domination and something to back the notorious claim that “Nigeria is truly the giant of Africa”. This was the case with AFCON 2023.
The only time I’m interested in football is when the national team is playing. I remember putting Super Eagles in my prayer request at church during the last FIFA World Cup. It wasn’t any different with AFCON this year. I said silent prayers while the match with South Africa was on Wednesday. And did God not do it? He clearly has a sense of humour. When I went to church today, I added Super Eagles to my prayer points. Nigeria must win because if not, the dragging will be out of this world.
I’m not in the country, but I saw many videos of people celebrating in numbers back home. Since I couldn’t enjoy the match, seeing all of that AFCON content on my TL piqued my interest and got me glued. It was so beautiful to see the competitive energy Nigerians poured into the game. As a Nigerian in the diaspora, it felt good that Nigeria was winning in one aspect despite our troubles. Supporting the Super Eagles was how I could also show patriotism and be proud of us for getting one thing right. Before AFCON 2023, I used to support Manchester United. But the anxiety from losing games made me quit. I just couldn’t cope. I mean, I am just a woman.
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