Africans are starting to get used to seeing football games played in empty stadiums, and as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to sweep across the black continent it seems there’s going to be a lot more of it – assuming football games are played at all. For players who are used to selling out every ground they play in, and fans used to being there to see them, this is all very strange.
Cameroon’s fine victory was played out in front of vast swathes of empty seats at the 60,000-capacity Olembe Stadium, with supporters in the football-mad country choosing to stay away from venues in large numbers.
“We hope there will be more people there for the third match,” said Toko-Ekambi.
Organisers have restricted crowds to 60 percent of capacity because of the pandemic, although for games involving Cameroon the limit is raised to 80 percent.
Nevertheless fans must also be vaccinated against Covid-19 and provide proof of a negative coronavirus test, enough to put off many in a country with a very low rate of inoculation.
Despite that Cameroonians are very much behind their team, while the country deals with separatist violence in its two anglophone regions, both of which straddle the Nigerian border in the west.
Faced with this first popular failure, the Minister of Communication, the government’s spokesperson, urged residents to go in droves to the stands to experience the matches live.
“The government, with my voice, urges all Cameroonians to continue to do everything, while strictly adhering to the rules that have been enacted to attend the various meetings in a spirit of fair play, discipline and brotherhood,” wrote Rene Emmanuel Sadi.
Reported by Camcordnews and AFP