Angolans take on former masters
- 11 Jun 06, 01:36 PM
COLOGNE – There’s a lot at stake for the Angolans tonight.
Not only is it their debut World Cup match but by a fluke of the draw, their first ever finals game is against their former colonial master – Portugal.
The two countries share a troubled history on and off the pitch.
In fact, when they last played in 2001 the game had to be abandoned 20 minutes from time after four Angolans were given red cards. At that point they were losing 5-1...
Of course, the Portuguese are favourites to win the tie but the Palancas Negras, or Black Impalas, are determined to put up a good fight. Their star, Pedro Mantorras, plays for Benfica so will have plenty to prove against team mates on the Portuguese side.
Meanwhile, the fans seem determined that relations between the “brother” nations will remain strong regardless of the result.
“We were colonised by Portugal in the past but now in the present we are together – united in peace and love,” said Shunnoz Fiel, a fashion designer from Angola’s capital, Luanda.
He was one of a colourful group of Angolan artists, musicians and poets who have travelled to Germany to showcase talent from the southern African country – better known for its poverty and long civil war after independence – while the World Cup is on.
There was even a catwalk show of Angolan fashion at the Fan Fest in Heumarkt – probably not what the fans were expecting but it seemed to go down well.
What with a troupe of Portuguese folk dancers in central Cologne and a German brass band parading on Sunday morning, it seems everyone wants to put on a show.
So, will the Angolan underdogs pull off an upset like Senegal inflicted on France in the opening game in 2002? We'll have to wait and see...