Artist Solomon Bogale gift for Journalist This is particularly true in the realm of what has become the world’s sport: football. Since both governments and ordinary citizens have become so physically, emotionally and mentally involved in that particular game, it has become another branch of political expression, identity and propaganda.
For example, in Europe, during the era of the dictatorships that plagued the continent from 1930s through 1950s, the link between football and politics was extremely visible when the dictatorial regimes often used the victories of their national football teams as vindicating their rather crazy policies, whereas, the ordinary masses seized the occasions of football matches to demonstrate either their loyalty and alignment with or dissatisfaction and resistances to the ideologies of the incumbent regimes.
Last month, the Ethiopian national football team played against its Nigerian counterpart in the first African qualifying round for the 2014 FIFA World Cup here in Addis Ababa. By and large, it was a game which captured the heart and imagination of each and every Ethiopian fan. The weeks and days leading up to the match rather looked like a carnival–with a bustling market of the tri-color national team attire and every other conceivable artifact symbolizing the national team; people wearing and marking faces and bodies with the bright green, yellow and red national colors singing and chanting nationalistic songs on streets; even some government-owned FM radios – in uncharacteristic move – playing the long-shelved nationalistic and patriotic music; some exuberant fans travelling on foot to the capital from far-off places like Adamma as a gesture of their deep and heart-felt commitment and support to the national team.
The moment of the match brought the capital and many other major cities and towns to stand-still when crowds of supporters anxiously watched the game from inside the stadium, in large venues and halls, their homes, bars, and cafeterias. Though at the end of the match in which Ethiopia lost 2 – 1 against Nigeria the whole country was engulfed into deeply subdued mood, many supporters shone a remarkable spirit of hope and encouragement at the amazing football skills of the national team–‘the Walias’. On the whole, the infectious nationalistic fervor and exuberance of the Ethiopian national team fans was beyond expression, to say the least