The World Cup has a way of bringing people together. That’s certainly the case in New York’s African communities, where supporters are throwing aside national affiliation and supporting the continent as a whole. Five African nations qualified for this summer’s competition. But there’s only been two wins so far.
CGTN’s Nick Harper reports on how the fans of Senegal and Nigeria are celebrating.
Now that’s how to celebrate a goal. The passion and pride of Senegalese fans is clear as they cheer their team on from afar. They’ve been watching the match at the Senegalese Association in New York right in the heart of Harlem’s Little Senegal.
Several hundred people from the west African nation live and work in this diverse neighborhood, and nothing brings them together quite like football.
“We are a football nation and you go to the streets of Senegal and you see kids, five-year-olds, ten-year-olds playing out in the streets, using a ball made out of anything they can find,” said the Senegalese Consul General in New York, Elhadji Ndao.
“It is exactly like Africa, or it is exactly like Senegal,” said Senegal supporter Thierno Guey. “In New York, it is really great for African people because everyone is living here.”
And in New York you don’t have to go far to find a football-loving African community.
The incredible thing about the diversity of the African diaspora in New York City is that you can catch a game with the Senegalese community in Harlem, and then nip across town to drop in on the Nigerian community in Brooklyn.
Super Eagles fans turned out for this must-win match against Iceland, joining to watch alongside other New York Nigerians.
“Even if we don’t like each other, when the Super Eagles are playing, everybody loves each other–everybody loves each other,” said Nigeria supporter Dayo Atewogboye.
“We’re far away from home, we’re in Brooklyn, and then we can come together in a community to watch football,” said Nigeria supporter Laolu Senbanjo. “Everybody’s here, not minding their ethnicity or anything, Football is something that unites everybody.”
During the World Cup games, even interviews can be interrupted. No matter what nation you’re from, if your team scores, the party starts soon after.
Nigeria and Senegal, who play their second match on Sunday, are keeping Africa’s dreams of World Cup glory alive.