There was a time not too long ago, streets were easily deserted on game nights, you find couples come to some form of agreement on who has control of the remote for the television, it was easy to see jokes across cyber space where a number of guys will plead with the women folk to be mindful of the fact that game season was fast approaching and all that matters was footsie.
There was a time social businesses – lounges, bars, viewing centers, hotels, clubs, stadiums all reaped huge profits during football season, from La Liga to UEFA, Premiership and even our own local league seasons.
Our country is a peculiar one with the challenge of “no electricity or power supply”, this cuts off these class of children and they are losing out on education. For advanced countries, who have adopted schooling-home even before the pandemic it is just a matter to time adjusting smoothly to the new normal.
All these were things we enjoyed, took for granted just a couple of weeks ago. The easy social connection that came from being able to bond with strangers over a drink and football talk, the fact that football not only provided a form of entertainment but it was seen by many as a way to relieve all the tension living in a city like Lagos brings
Before the world changed, football was serious big business and while we will not go into all the business parts of it, we can talk about how it served as a major income stream for many in Nigeria either by having viewing centers, bars and lounges were not left out as it provided a space where people could congregate to watch the matches and engage the services of such space. Then came betting companies who have redefined what the game of gambling is all about and have in the space of such a little while created an alternate income stream for so many people which cuts across the uneducated to the upward mobile crowd.
It is almost surreal to imagine that in the blink of an eye there is suddenly no match to watch, no crowded stadiums all cheering for their teams, no crowded bars and heated arguments and bets over the scores of a match, no analysis on what a player is doing or a coach or a club….it is almost unbelievable!
The virus came and while we are trying to understand what it means to not be able to congregate or hug a stranger in the heat of the moment while screaming ‘goal’ or even the players themselves lapping up the excitement and cheer from an adoring crowd; what we have now is a game that may have to be played absent of all the things that make us love football so much.
We have a question for the football lovers, what are you watching outside of football in this COVID-19 times? Are you still arguing with you buddies on your team being better? Are you wagering right now that post COVID-19, your team is coming out with a bang? A friendly advice, try not to get reckless with your confidence…..laugh
We miss football and now more than ever, it is so easy to look back and be full of gratitude for all the things we otherwise took for granted.