The love and passion for football transcend gender, age, colour, and language. In different parts of the world, there are large numbers of people that are fascinated with the game of football. Since the inception of football, people of diverse cultures, tribes, languages and dialects have been able to form a kind of bond and intimacy that has stood the test of time. There is no continent where football is not being played or watched. Both the young and old, male and female have gotten themselves engaged in this beautiful sport, which has been able to unite people of different ideas and doctrine.

With this beautiful game called football, there are different categories of people involved. We have active and passive participants. The active participants are the players that are involved in the routines of the sport. They belong to a particular country, where they might be involved in the playing activities of the national team. On the other side, they also belong to a particular club, where they ply their football trading activities. We have football clubs like Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Arsenal etc.

On the other end are the football fans that are the passive participants. They are described as passive because they don’t actively take part in playing the game, but their support and interest in getting to support a particular club is what makes them a participant. The undying love and passion of some fans can’t be quantified as they are fully committed to the sporting activities of the particular club they choose to support.

Caption: Football fans watching football
Photo credit: Cheeronnigeria

The fans of different clubs can be categorised into two aspects. We have those that get to buy the football tickets of the club they support, in order to go watch them play live in the stadium and those that sit at the very side of the Television to watch their team play. With the growing fan base of these different football clubs and incapability of everyone not getting the chance to go watch their team at the stadium, due to various reasons, the viewing centres have then been on the rise.

In Nigeria, a country that sits at the very centre of West Africa, the rapid rise of football viewing centres can’t be ignored. There is a huge number of people that tend to derive joy, in getting to watch the football team they support on television in different viewing centres nationwide. As it appears almost impossible for the devoted fans to travel, in order to watch the football clubs they support in different top European countries, they have been able to find solace in getting to watch them on television hence the emergence of viewing centres arose.

The business of football viewing centres in Nigeria has been on the dock for some years now. With the emergence of Digital Satellite Television (DSTV), football devotees of different European Clubs have been able to watch the team they support on the television with ease. DSTV is a digital platform that enables you to subscribe to its platform and with this, you can get the access to watch some channels on it cable, which includes some sports channels like Supersports 1, 3, 5 etc.

However, not every sports enthusiast in Nigeria is capable of doing this monthly subscription as some people find it difficult to pay. With this, they turn their attention to viewing centres, where they get to pay an average of about 25cents (100 Naira) to watch their favourite European football team play. The avoidance of the monthly subscription is the main reason why some people go to viewing centres to watch football, but there are other side attractions that come with it.

Banter

Football is a game of unity and without banter, it might not get the needed attention and fun it deserves. In Nigeria, at the viewing centres, some football enthusiasts go there to throw banters. They try to engage in teasing conversion in order to create humour at the expense of a rival team that might be on the losing side. Different terminologies are used in order to create “expensive jokes,” that might get to tease some fans of a particular club that is doing badly in a match. The football competition you tend to see people throwing banters mostly is the Champions League, where different teams from different European clubs get to play one another. At these various viewing centres, the atmosphere during the Champions League is always full of fun and noise, most especially if two rivals clubs are getting to play each other. Some people feed on this noise to give them extra motivation to support their team.

Sense of belongingness

In football, the idea of supporting a particular team is crucial, but what makes it unique is the awareness of collectivity.  This is the ideal sense of belonging to a particular fan base that supports a specific football team. In football viewing centres in Nigeria, people are fascinated with belonging to a collective association of fan base and this is an inspiration that propels people to go watch a match in the centres. There is always that feeling of togetherness and wearing of the club jersey they support is an emblem that depicts the sense of belonging to the fan base or supporting the team.

Gamble

Gamble and football are friends that can never be separated, and no matter how weird it might sound their friendship is an everlasting bond that is going to stand the test of time. In Nigeria, at the viewing centres, the possibility of getting to gamble is what drives some people to go out. Some football enthusiasts can’t even get to watch and enjoy a match without gambling. So the avenue of this gathering, where different ideas on teams are tabled is the perfect platform for them to gamble.

Half time commentary

Half time commentary is when football analysts get to deliberate on the performance of the teams, players and tempo of the match during the half time break. It is an interesting part of football as players and the match get analysed. In Nigeria, at the centres, some of the football fans take it upon themselves to analyse the match and players. This is a prominent feature of these centres as both the novice and expert of football get to prove their understanding of the match. Even those that tend not to know much about football or weren’t even concentrating on the match, get the chance to contribute even if they are not sure of the statistics. Some of them do base their arguments on assumptions rather than facts and this makes it much interesting because it evokes fun.

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