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Angola prepares for the World Cup with songs, dances, and soccer on big-screen TV’s
No matter how the game goes, it will be a success.  Angola is highly anticipating this year’s world cup as it prepares with dances and songs.  The avid fads have been doing what they can to guarantee a great view of the exalted game, but their preparations are inhibited by technical difficulties such as the lack of electricity and televisions.  The whole country is hoping for a win, a redemption of some sort, that will even pass amongst the feet of the Palancas Negras.
 
A Miracle.  Who would have ever guessed?  Not even the most hopeful optimists would have been on the qualification of Angola.  And instead Akwa and his teammates surprised everyone as they advanced into the qualifying rounds against Nigeria and won a ticket to Germany in 2006.  The players believe they have already won just by being in Germany, but the appetite of the Angolans doesn’t stop here.  They are hoping for a historic victory in their game against their ex-motherland Portugal that will help them advance to the next round.
 
Portugal.  A game so full of significance could scarcely exist:  a Portuguese colony since 1400, Angola had to fight hard to be able to celebrate its independence, November 11th of 1975.  But its true problems were only beginning after that day, with the outbreak of one of the bloodiest civil wars in African history, resulting in more than 500,000 deaths and 4 million refugees in 27 years.  On June 11th in Cologne, Angola will play against its past and attempt to build a different future.
 
The Future.  “We are tired of being recognized only as a country of oil, diamonds, and civil war,” Luis de Miranda, member of an Angolan soccer association, told PeaceReporter.  “We help kids from the streets in Luanda build a better future.  With the excuse of soccer, we are usually able to pull them off of the streets, even if just for a few hours.  The World Cup is giving us the huge opportunity to show ourselves off to the world, and we would like to use this opportunity to change our image on an international level.”  Still suffering from the wounds of a civil war the ended in 2002, like the constant fight against rebels from Cabaña and a crushed economy, Angola prefers to look to the future.
 
Problems.  For the moment, the most pressing problem is still being able to see the exalted game:  in many parts of the country, including the area around Luanda, there is no electricity, but the people are trying their hardest to not miss this monumental soccer game.  Some are trying to use solar panels to power their televisions, and others plan on watching the game at the town bar.  The government has received requests for electric generators and big screen TVs from the most isolated communities who have raised enough money to rent them.  One thing is certain:  in one way of another, every Angolan will be cheering for their Palancas on June 11th
 
Pride.  The wealthiest of Angolans are actually traveling to Germany for the game.  The German embassy in Luanda claims that they have received thousands of requests for vistas in the last months.  A group of artists will be following the soccer team to Germany.  Their task is to both support the team and to share Angolian culture and tradition with others.  “For us, just arriving in Germany is a reason to be very proud,” concluded Luis, “mostly because we did it all by ourselves.”  Unlike other countries from Africa, in fact, Angola is completely “autoctona,” including their trainer Oliviera Goncalves.  They made it to Germany because they worked hard as a group to support their entire country.  But now that the party has begun, why stop at the best?  Everyone in Luanda is sure that Angola is ready to shine.  Today in soccer, tomorrow in the rebirth of one of the unluckiest group of people on the continent.
 
Matteo Fagotto
Topic: People, Sport
Area: Angola