Banish Your January Blues, Thanks to the African Cup of Nations

t’s cold, wet and windy, we’ve all spent all our money (and then some!) at Christmas, and the economy is down the tubes. What we need at this time of year is a good party to lift our spirits, but there doesn’t seem to be much to celebrate. Maybe we can “borrow” somebody else’s party…

On January 21st, the African Cup of Nations football tournament kicks off. You’d be forgiven if you didn’t know this; the event never receives the press coverage it deserves, and in fact only seems to get a mention when British football managers have a moan about losing their star African players to the tournament for a few weeks in the middle of the season. Rather than moaning about the tournament’s timing, let’s take a few moments to celebrate a fantastic event, and join in with Africa’s biggest party. Millions of Africans all over the world will be following the event closely, and its impact within the continent is enormous, both economically (especially for the two host nations – Gabon and Equatorial Guinea) but also socially, by bringing people together and lifting their spirits.

And isn’t that just what we need in the cold, miserable northern hemisphere right now? Think back to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and remember the joyful exuberance of the African crowds, decked out in their wonderfully colourful costumes and dancing to their music, all in celebration สมัคร ufabet เว็บไหนดี of the world’s favourite sport. Too often we lose sight of the fact that sport is entertainment, it’s fun, and something to be enjoyed socially with friends.

So why not forget the winter blues, put off the spring cleaning for a few more weeks, and turn your home into a little African party oasis? It needn’t cost the earth, and might just get your year off to a more colourful start. Simply get together with a couple of friends, and each pick a team to support through the tournament (there are sixteen to choose from, including favourites Ivory Coast and Ghana, but some of Africa’s less well-known footballing nations such as Botswana, Niger and Guinea will be trying make their mark too). Then, whoever’s team is playing has to host a party while you all watch the game together. You can keep it simple with a few beers, crisps and a take-away pizza, or make it much more fun and decorate your front room with a few flags (you can find these on the internet for under £5), and find some recipes from your chosen nation to cook for your guests. Trust me – it’s great fun, it doesn’t cost a lot, and it’s a really fun way to “hijack” Africa’s party and take all our eyes off our own troubles at home for a few weeks. You can even involve the children in making colourful decorations for your front room, or doing some of the cooking (and it’s a sneaky way of broadening their education by seeing what they can find out about each of the countries taking part!) – my eight year old son has now become an ardent Ghana supporter!