There’s so much hype around this year’s FIFA World Cup, especially in Nigeria!
The Nigerian jersey and the players’ outfits to Russia, and basically everything in between has got the nation on an all-time high as the games kick off tomorrow.
According to the Hindu Times,over one million fans are expected in Russia, creating challenges that range from the logistical to the cultural, both for the hosts and their guests.
By Thursday, FIFA said that just over 2.4 million tickets had been sold, more than 1.5 million of them outside Russia. FIFA said another 100,000, which had been reserved for its “constituent groups”, were now being offered to fans.
Even though the tickets are often sold in packages including several matches, that’s a lot of visiting supporters. The nice round number FIFA has been using is one million.
There will be the clapping Icelanders, the chanting English and the distinctive personalities of the supporters of the other 29 visiting countries.
The differing languages, songs, flags and fan cultures of the world will energise the streets of Russia’s host cities until the middle of July.
Russia’s objective, organising committee chief Alexei Sorokin said, is to show fans “an unforgettable, colourful Russia”.
Russia spent a whopping $13 billion (11 billion euros) on infrastructure.
“The airports in six cities have new terminals, 21 new hotels have been built in host cities,” Sorokin said in May, adding that “14 hospitals have been re-equipped for the tournament”
FIFA president Gianni Infantino told AFP this week: “I have never seen a country that has done so much to welcome the fans.” They will certainly be able to get between the host cities on trains, although in reality the vast majority who benefit will be Russian nationals. Sorokin said 700 additional trains would be laid on.
Accommodation could also be a concern because some owners of apartments in host cities have sharply increased their prices, so you might want to take heed if you are travelling to Russia for ths match. Some owners have cancelled bookings, and are now demanding higher prices than they originally advertised. Many fans complained of similar tactics in the Ukrainian capital Kiev in May when Liverpool played Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
The question of how foreign visitors will be received in Russia remains to be seen. “A lot has been done to train volunteers and the security forces to avoid racism,” said Sylvia Schenk, of Transparency International, who also sits on a FIFA committee on human rights.
But in a country where black footballers are still occasionally subjected to monkey chants, there is an obvious risk of racist incidents.
So get yourself prepared both mentally and physically. Putting your health in check, and guarding your purses jealously to avoid stories that touch.
Have fun, looking out for live updates from you!