Football fans set the Internet on fire with jokes ahead of kick-off

A view of the video assistant refereeing (VAR) operation room at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia International Broadcast Centre (IBC) in Moscow. [AFP]
At 6pm today, when Russia takes on Saudi Arabia in the Russian capital of Moscow, the 21st World Cup tournament will officially be underway, heightening the excitement over the month-long football bonanza.

In the run up to the World Cup, men and women have traded jokes over the implications of the tournament. Online, most women insist that their spouses must watch the game at home.

“I don’t understand why they cannot watch from home, they just have to go to clubs,” one wrote.

Others have chosen to be honest, revealing that they are excited even though they understand nothing about football. Most women planning to watch the game admit that their only interest in the month-long tournament is spotting attractive players.

Men, on the other hand, have dictated humorous rules to their partners. These include “no talking during the game”, “the remote control belongs to me for the whole month”, “you should not pass in front of the TV while I am watching the game, you better crawl” and “make sure you don’t ask silly questions like is this Chelsea versus England”.

Others have joked that they will not support Germany because veteran Opposition politician Raila Odinga supports the team. Since he has lost presidential elections four times, some users jokingly argue that Germany will lose by default.

For some Kenyans, the World Cup presents the perfect opportunity to create excuses to miss obligations like work.

Notably, this edition’s theme song, ‘Live It Up’ by Nicky Jam, Will Smith and Era Istrefti has not achieved as much popularity as previous theme songs like K’Naan’s ‘Wavin Flag.’

Corruption scandals

Despite the excitement, some online users are confused about where their priorities should lie, afraid that the World Cup will overshadow the many corruption scandals in the country.

For others, it has been a disappointment that Kenyan coach Aden Marwa lost the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to officiate at the game for “just Sh60, 000”.

Nevertheless, football fans have a variety of options when it comes to where they can watch the game.

At Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), blue, green, yellow and blue tents have been set up to surround four large-screen displays facing different directions.

In a separate area, named the village area, organisers have set up a large white tent with two combined large-screen displays.

“Each tent can seat a maximum of 150 people. We expect around 2,000 people to attend each screening,” revealed the Homeboyz Entertainment Ltd team, the main organisers of the KICC screening.

The organisers of the event dubbed ‘Kutana KICC World Cup Festival’ are attracting viewers with the promise of “a world-class viewing experience”.

Even though the highlight of the event put together by Homeboyz Entertainment, KICC and Coca-Cola is football, the organisers promise viewers a lot more, including music, gaming and fashion.

“Tickets for adults cost Sh300 while children’s tickets go for Sh100,” says the Homeboyz Entertainment team. 

Some organisations are spending heavily to offer employees an unforgettable World Cup viewing experience. The Russian Embassy, for instance, has booked a viewing area for staff and so has the Nigerian Embassy.

All across, clubs, bars, lounges and other entertainment spots have set up large screens and introduced new offers and services specifically for the World Cup. For most of these establishments, the World Cup offers an opportunity to make money.

Homeboyz Entertainment, for instance, aims to attract dozens of advertisers over the course of the games.

According to Geopoll CEO Nick Becker, male fans prefer watching football in the company of their friends in large lively environments that have fan groups.

In the last few months, social media users have been asking for advice on the television sets and decoders they should buy to have the best home viewing experience.

One of the most fascinating moments for Kenyans was the arrival of the African teams at the games. Nigeria’s Super Eagles stood out in white-and-green suits, complete with white hats and shoes; their look greatly excited the online community.

The Senegalese team arrived wearing native navy blue attire.

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