I am standing at the corner of Kerk and Mooi streets in downtown Jozi, trying to make sense of the city’s immense energy, trying to understand what fuels its inhabitants’ seemingly-endless hustle. In the past five minutes, I have had a chat with two gentlemen about soccer, admired many good-looking women, and got my adrenaline levels boosted upon encountering a bunch of men coming out of the uSave from just around the corner, carrying guns – in pursuit of a criminal, maybe?
“They are private cops,” someone said.
I am here to get a sense of how excited people are about their teams participating in this year’s African Cup Of Nations.
Below are verbatim records of what they said, including their names, country of origin, and how long they’ve been in South Africa for.
[See opening image]
Name: Patrick Kadima
Country of origin: DRC / Lubumbashe
Duration in South Africa: raised here
I’m pretty excited to know that they actually made it. We’ve missed it in three years, or three competitions running. It’s promising so far, we had a game against Ghana, and you saw the results. It is exciting. We’re waiting in anticipation. I believe that we’ve got the potential to reach the semi-finals. Just looking at the game against Ghana, it’s the first game. People are still nervous, and if they can pull off a two-goal draw then it’s promising. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Mputu, only because the guy plays for TP Mazembe. He’s most probably our most valuable asset; he’s one of the best players at the moment. In fact in the competition I haven’t seen anyone as impressive as he is.
Name: Mesele Haile
Country of origin: Ethiopia
Duration in South Africa: 8 months
I am excited on AFCON in regard with yesterday’s match. I expected three points to [be taken from] Zambia. But unfortunately due to some reason, some faults in coordination, Ethiopia lost to Zambia. As you saw, the game ended with a draw; I feel sorry. Our team missed the penalty. Our game ended 1-1. From the beginning, I expected Ethiopia to win, but unfortunately [it] didn’t.
Name: Mike (L) and Abuchi (R)
Country of origin: Nigeria (Mike is from Anambra state, Abuchi is from Enugu state)
Duration in South Africa: Mike 2 years, Abuchi 3 years
I don’t know why every country is against Nigeria, why? The referee is against Nigeria, you must know that. If you watched the football yesterday, you could see that Nigeria is the strongest team so far in this football [competition]. They just pass the ball like the Premier League. But our problem is the referee. He’s against us. We’re not lacking anything, what we’ve started lacking are our strikers. The time they removed Emenike (he scored the first goal), our wins started… Ikechukwu is not a good striker. He missed many chances, I think about four chances. Another problem we had was when they gave Ambrose a red card. But they were supposed to give him a yellow card. The referee gave any Nigerian a yellow card when they committed a foul, everybody could see. They can see that Nigeria is a strong team.
Country of origin: DRC, Kassai Oriental
Duration in South Africa: 3 months
I have said it before that I know my country, my country has not been in competition. But we’re in the competition this year, I think we’re going to win the cup. We played against Ghana; Ghana scored the first two [goals], but in the second half we scored too. If we don’t win, I think Ghana or Zambia will win. That’s who I prefer.
Name: Nadia Duambe
Country of origin: DRC, Kinshasa
Duration in South Africa: 5 years
My team tried to play well. You know Ghana is the first in Africa, they say so. But my country tried their best to do something. I like all the players, but Tresor Mputu is my best. I’m a fan of soccer, I like to watch it, it’s nice for me.