A variety of shocking stories after a football match: Nigeria’s love of the Premier League ยูฟ่าเบท extends beyond watching and reading. In 2006, 27 December was deemed Arsenal day in the small city of Kogi in the east of the country.
A variety of shocking stories after a football match
Eleven years later, hundreds of fans, all in club strip, were still gathering in the town square still bedecked with Arsenal banners. In 2008, Chelsea fans from the Ufabet Lagos neighbourhood of Ebutte Meta gave out free jerseys and prepared a public feast, including a bull painted in team colours, in anticipation of their club’s victory in the Champions League final.
Chelsea lost but they ate the bull anyway. Love can breed hate. In the aftermath of Manchester United’s defeat by Barcelona in the 2009 Champions League final, a United fan in the town of Ogbo in Nigeria drove his minibus past a group of celebrating Barcelona supporters. He then did a U-turn and drove straight at them, killing four people and injuring ten.
Nigeria has no monopoly on this kind of violence. In 2010 in a bar in Lamu, Kenya, a Liverpool fan, Abibakar Bashie, was stabbed during their game with Manchester United after an explosive argument with opponents.
Football suicides, though often related to gambling losses and debts, are disturbingly common. In Nairobi in 2009, Suleiman Omondi hanged himself wearing his Arsenal shirt after his side had lost 3–1 to United. Conversely, in 2013 a Manchester United fan plunged to his death from the seventh-floor balcony of an apartment block after his side had lost to Newcastle United.
The marital consequences of football have become a perennial of Africa’s agony aunts who encourage women to accommodate their partners’ obsession, not merely by timing ยูฟ่าเบท meals and family events around the fixture list, but by embracing their club.