GOAL highlights the special group of supporters from the continent set add more spice during the tournament.
A number of fans have descended on Qatar to support their teams during the 2022 World Cup which kicked off on Sunday with Ecuador beating the hosts 2-0.
Africa’s five representatives, Ghana, Cameroon, Senegal, Tunisia and Morocco, will also have plenty of supporters in the stands and among them, there are a select few who will be stepping out of the ordinary.
While the rest might just be excited by the World Cup, the super fans never miss a match, however small the competition might be, and go to the extent of painting themselves, dressing differently and carrying all sorts of paraphernalia in a bid to add spice.
As Senegal becomes the first African country on the pitch when they face the Netherlands on Monday, GOAL looks at Africa’s World Cup super fans who will be another source of attraction in Qatar.
Ghana fans are familiar with Samuel Aggrey, popularly known as ‘Obuor’, who follows the Black Stars everywhere they go.
Obuor usually paints his whole body with Ghana colours with only white underwear to match and carries his ceremonial pot on his head that emits smoke while holding a placard inscribed ‘Awurade Kasa’, which means God should speak.
His unique way of supporting the Black Stars has earned him admiration in the West African nation but some rival fans have accused him of carrying ‘juju’ in the pot.
Obuor has been to all Ghana games ranging from the World Cup, Africa Cup of Nations to the World Youth Championships with his antics a source of attraction for other supporters in the stadium just like the action on the pitch.
His efforts have not gone unnoticed as in 2019, he was awarded the Best Supporter award at the Suez Stadium, after the Black Stars beat Guinea-Bissau 2-0 to qualify to the next round of the African Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Obour is among the Ghana supporters in Qatar who will be hoping for a good run from the Black Stars so that he can stay longer in the Asian nation while winning more hearts.
Senegal’s 12eme Gainde
Present at every Teranga Lions match, 12eme Gainde (12th Lion) are tireless and undefeated and through their voices and animations, the stands vibrate with motivation for their team.
Through songs and dance, they create a carnival atmosphere in the stadium with their only aim being to see the Teranga Lions win every match.
Highly organised, the group has the blessing of Senegal’s sports ministry which funds some of their activities and even in Qatar, the Mayor of Dakar has been one of their sponsors.
The group is very popular in Senegal and follows the national team whenever they go to play. Once they arrive at a venue, they take up residence at the same hotel and can be a ‘nuisance’ to other guests, especially during rehearsals.
They are more like a band which dons special attire, has saxophonists and drummists who create a great atmosphere in the stadium while singers and dancers follow in a choreographed fashion.
Ngando Pickett of Cameroon
For more than 40 years, Ngando Pickett, real name Henri Mouyebe, has supported the Indomitable Lions through good times and the bad, attending 16 Africa Cup of Nations and two World Cups.
Pickett, who is set for his third World Cup in Qatar, started supporting the Indomitable Lions in 1982 when he was a student living in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast.
“Cameroon had come to play a university competition in Ivory Coast. We were just 10 Cameroonians in Yamoussoukro, but I mobilised them to go support the youth football team,” he told Al Jazeera in October.
Pickett, who earned the nickname due to similarities in his dance moves with that of the late American soul singer Wilson Pickett, covers his body and clothes with paint that match the green, red and yellow of the country’s flag.
So good and dedicated was Pikckett to his role that he was made the official Cameroon mascot at the recommendation of former Sports Minister Joseph Owona and with that, he has a front-row seat of all the action even if he does more dancing and singing than watching the game.
Tunisia’s Ridha the Elephant
Chosen the best fan at the 2018 World Cup, Tunisia’s Ridha the Elephant, whose real name is Ridha Jlassi, is hoping to retain his title in Qatar where his nation is among those battling it out.
This will be the third World Cup for the 42-year-old after attending the 2006 edition in Germany and it will be the easiest to get to given there are direct flights between the countries and it takes a little more than five hours.
He sources for sponsorship which ensures he attends all the Carthage Eagles matches where he paints his torso using tomato paste and harissa before heading into the stands.