When I land in breezy Moscow on Friday afternoon, I would be going to attend my third FIFA World Cup in a row. When I turned up for South Africa 2010, little did I know what the World Cup felt like and surely could not have predicted that I would become as involved with football as I have come to be the last eight years.
Every World Cup has a different feel but they have a common thread, the joy and spectacle that the game offers and the creativity of the boisterous fans. The vuvuzelas and the makarapa
hats will remain enduring images from 2010. Meeting 31 other fans who have become friends from my time at Bud House and getting to know the Western Cape and its beautiful landscape will always be one of my most cherished memories.
Like South Africa, Brazil 2014 was an opportunity to discover the beauty of South America’s biggest country. I travelled to five cities – Sao Paulo, Campinas, Curitiba, Cuiaba, Porto Alegre and Brasilia. That was actually six. I met new people and saw how the locals were very welcoming during the period.
In Brazil, folks were keen to invite you over to parties or barbecues. When I arrived in Curitiba, a passenger from another flight that saw me standing by the kerb waiting for a cab asked where I was going to. When he learned that my hotel was along
his route, he asked me to hop in his cab and during the ride invited me to join him and friends out on the town later that night.
After I rounded up my work at the media centre, I met up and we had dinner at a MacDonald’s before entering a night club
. We ran into Iranian fans and quickly became friends. We hopped into a taxi and headed to another club where we met some Nigeria fans who had come from as far as Australia and the United Kingdom to be a part of the World Cup. That night, we all forgot our allegiances and partied before hostilities commenced the next day.
And that is the kind of experience that the World Cup offers. People from all over the globe gather to celebrate the world’s most popular sport over one full month.
It will not be different this year in Russia. Forget all the political propaganda, once the World Cup starts, the entire world will catch the football fever. And for everyone that is able to attend the tournament, it will be one long expensive party.
My knowledge of Russia after studying there is that Russians like to enjoy the good life. They may not smile at you while walking down the street but when they hit the clubs in the evening, they become friendly, open and warm. Men would buy foreigners vodka and food just to get to know them. But you must be wary of not getting yourself drunk because it makes no sense to compete with a Russian if you don’t want to get wasted.
My reporting duties will restrict the fun time because I will be working to create interesting content for all the readers of FCNaija. But I will be looking forward to meeting and speaking to the best fans from across the world.
The last time I was in Moscow in December 2017, the city was held hostage by the deluge of winter. But this summer, Moscow looks sunny and bright as it opens its doors to the world’s best fans.
I will be partaking in the ritual of the World Cup this year and I cannot wait to share what I find with all our readers in Nigeria and from around the world. It is to bring you the action that we make the trip.
Viva football, davai
!Follow Lolade Adewuyi on Twitter: @Jololade