As Malawi and Algeria took the field on Monday, 11 January, in the second match of the 2010 African Cup of Nations tournament, the stadium in Luanda was almost completely empty, except for officials and security men. why was no attempt made to entice Luanda's crowds to matches not involving the home team? This match was being televised worldwide, and it should have been anticipated that since Angola was not playing, the stadium would be empty. what usually happens in such circumstances is that the gate fees are drastically reduced, or even foregone, so as to attract more spectators. But apparently Angola hasn't heard of anything like that before. I hope South Africa is taking note of such things.
It was the same lack of imagination that made the Angolans decide to make cabinda one of the venues at which matches would be played. It is all very well for it to have got the Chinese to build a spanking new stadium, costing millions of dollars, in Cabinda city, to make the political point to the population that not all the money obtained from the oil that gushes out of Cabinda, is commandeered by the apparatchiks in Luanda for their own purposes.
Or to demonstrate to the oil companies that if, as insurance, they might be tempted secretly to finance some of the residual elements of the Cabinda secessionist movements that are supposed to have ended their guerrilla campaigns, they should desist because the Luanda government now has full control of Cabinda. (Cabinda has suffered from insurgency for many years at the hands of the now "dormant" FLEC (Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda)).
However, there is a proverb that there is always blood in the head of the tsetse-fly. So even if Luanda is truly in full control of the entire territory of Angola, precautions should have been taken to prevent the fatal attack on the Togolese footballers from taking place. You see, the Luanda government is composed of the MPLA, one of the most experienced guerrilla organisations in the world. it was formed in 1956 and I had the singular honour of spending nearly a month in the Soviet Union and China with its first secretary-general, Viriato da Cruz (now deceased) and another senior member, Mario de Andrade. Since then, the MPLA has undergone so many changes that it has now become quite unrecognisable to those who knew its earlier incarnation.
The experience it has undergone, I believe, should have alerted it to the possible...