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The game that the whole world is watching


Mayowa Adeshina really should go to work. It’s Sunday afternoon and he hasn’t finished get off work at the barbershop yet. He arrived wearing a red and white Arsenal shirt, all courtesy of his boss. Well, grace is a word. Resigning is another matter. “I took a break for the love of the sport,” Mr. Adesna said. “The manager knows this. He is no stranger to day-to-day life.”

Many West Africans live to the rhythm of European football, with mostly male crowds gathering outside bars, hair salons, street restaurants – any venue that eventually has a screen – to watch their idols play thousands of miles away. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain all have sizeable followings in the region, but in Nigeria, nothing can match the allure of the Premier League.

On game days, fans of all stripes flock to the viewing center — a street-level venue outfitted with several screens, a puzzle-like set of wooden benches, dense wires and a canopy that blocks the sun and reduces glare — just like the Tron The same one as Mr. Pu’s. Adesina and his friends came to watch his beloved Arsenal play Tottenham Hotspur.

Mr Adeshina became an Arsenal fan in the late 1990s, when Nigerian cable channels first started showing Premier League football. His brother instructed him which team to support and Nwankwo Kanu, one of Nigeria’s greatest stars at the time, was part of the squad.

If anything, though, Mr. Adeshna said he was now more connected to the team. Arsenal’s academy is filled with British players of Nigerian descent. One of the club’s brightest stars, Bukayo Saka, grew up in a Nigerian family in London. “He is Yoruba and I am Yoruba,” Mr Adesina said, speaking in a much softer tone than when he celebrated his idol’s first-half goal against Tottenham.

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