As the COVID-19 pandemic rages and football leagues restart, fans of the game are forced to abandon viewing centres, as part of regulations to stop the virus’ spread.
Some Nigerians told us what they miss about football viewing centres.
Emmanuel Tevez: Why I prefer going to viewing centres to watch football is because I find it more interesting and more fun watching it with a group of people and having to share different opinions, thoughts and all the screams when the player scores a goal. Its feels like family.
Watching it alone at home, you won’t have anybody to talk to and you might even find the game boring. I don’t know how some people love watching matches alone.
But most people I know love viewing centres, because they feel it’s fun and find the game very interesting.
Udoh Bassey: Basically, one of the major reasons why I prefer going to viewing centres to watch football is simply because football is interesting when the argument is there. When you take away the argument from football, it becomes a normal thing.
We want to get engaged, hear people talk about it — the passion. You see the love and zeal people use in supporting their team. You hear statistics and get engaged with history. All these bring excitement into football.
It’s not because I can’t watch in the comfort of my sitting room. But for all the times I watch football at home, I don’t always get what I really want. But when you go out there to watch with friends and people, who might be strangers, you just talk about a lot.
There’s the love, passion and the fun to hear people comment on various issues regarding football. Patrick Ube: Why I love going to viewing centres is because that’s where you meet a lot of people. Imagine staying alone to watch football.
You won’t be motivated about it. When you are around new people at viewing centres they bring out ideas. Also, there would be different supporters of various teams, so you get to hear arguments. If you are at home, there’s nobody to argue with. Watching football alone is not fun.
David Ibrahim: I have this friend of mine that does not like watching football at home. He either goes to the neighbour’s house or the viewing centres. I am not really a football fan.
It’s not my favourite game, but one thing I know about watching football matches is when you are watching alone, it becomes so boring. But when there are people around you, you get to interact with people, and gradually, they take that boredom away from you.
Watching football in a viewing centre helps to kill time and provides an escape from sorrows. You find yourself arguing and shouting with the opposition club fans. Most time you tend to forget your problems.
Blessing Anzaku: The reason myself and a few people I know go to viewing centres is because of fun and argument between supporters.
Anonymous: Why I love going there is because I always get over my worries and calm down when I get to interact and argue about matches, especially when my girlfriend annoys me or whenever I am angry about something. I always find my way to the viewing centres to watch match. That is the best way to ease my anger.
Anonymous: I go to viewing centres to watch football matches because the stations that show the matches are on bouquets that are very expensive to subscribe to. In the lower bouquet I subscribe to, they only show one match per day.
To watch the remaining matches, especially the high profile ones, I have to go to viewing centres. This might continue until my income improves to the point where I can conveniently cough out such huge amount to pay for higher subscription bouquets.
Edikan Asuamah: I love watching football in viewing centres mostly because of the atmosphere. As numerous fans of different clubs gather either to celebrate the victory or the loss, the atmosphere becomes so tense.
Also, arguments from different angles arise in the course of the game time with loud roars and chants from fans, especially with victory lurking. Most times, fans of rivals clubs indulge in deep and passionate jubilations and sometimes banter, as they witness the slump to the defeat of other clubs.
Seno Evans: I don’t really prefer viewing centres, but it is fun anytime I go there to watch the games, as it exposes me to the emotional support from fans.
Even with the noise, the arguments, you realise that it’s exactly these elements that make the game interesting to watch in the midst of people with different characters.
So respondents and millions of football lovers worldwide now watch the game either in isolation or with a few persons.
The experience cannot be the same as in a viewing centre, where fans scream at each other, saliva flying, statistics(correct or otherwise) are spouted confidently and coaching instructions dished out to impervious players.
Don’t you just miss: “Dem don dey go! One by one!” Or “Yeeee! Blind striker! We should move the goal post to look for your ball, abi?” Or “Coach, substitute that O2. His battery is weak.”