Be Smart About South Africa

Football Fans Head to Lagos Bars for Start of EPL

The Manchester City-Arsenal game may have been played in an empty stadium in north-west England on Wednesday night because of the coronavirus pandemic but 6,500km away in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, there was little sign of any social distancing. As the English Premier League resumed, the Sir T pub, in the mainland part of Lagos where there are poor neighbourhoods, was packed with football lovers who defied heavy rain – almost all cheering for Arsenal, who enjoy huge and dedicated support among Nigeria’s millions of football fans. Although hotels have been allowed to open, their bars are still shut and there’s a limit on the number of people who can gather – a maximum of 20, according to the government guidelines. But football fans without cable or satellite TV had little choice but to watch the game in pubs, even though this was illegal. For some others, it is the ambience that draws them to such places, where they can celebrate with friends and heckle opposing fans, despite the risk of coronavirus infection.


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