Cote d’Ivoire football diehards hit hard by suspension

The National Committee of Elephants Supporters from Cote d’Ivoire is one of the most colourful and vocal African football fan groups. Without their favourite game, they have been forced into looking for alternatives outside football to cope with lack of action. CGTN’s Chao Mghono brings us their story.

With no action taking place in or around the nation’s stadiums, football fans in Cote d’Ivoire have had a hard time coping.

Deprived of their passion, most of them have been unable to fill the void created by the suspension of competition.

The president of the National Committee of Elephant Supporters of Cote d’Ivoire says he is barely clinging on to hope since sporting events were suspended.

Adonis Kouadio, President, National Committee of Elephants Supporters: “We no longer feel alive with no sporting events. We no longer have the passion and energy we get from stadiums during big sporting events. I assure you, it is total desolation. Hopefully this disease goes away quickly and sports events can restart so that we the supporters can get back to life.”

In his home, Adonis maintains a cabinet dedicated to the various trophies and keep-sakes collected by his committee of supporters.

Every object in this jealously-guarded shrine acts as a significant souvenir for this football fanatic.

“In my opinion, the best game was Cote d’Ivoire – Colombia. What struck me was that it was a very tense match. And that’s a souvenir that was given to me during that match by a Colombian,” President, National Committee of Elephants Supporters.

To deal with the lack of action and to relive the emotions in the stadium, Adonis and his group members get together from time-to-time to review old matches and set up an action plan for any possible return.

Rosine Kouadio, supporter, Cote d’Ivoire: “These are not easy times because of COVID-19. But even without sports activities, the president often catches up with the staff, like today, trying to predict recovery. But I have to say that we miss the atmosphere in the stadiums very much.”

ADONIS KOUADIO, President, National Committee of Elephants Supporters: “We meet like a family here at my house from time to time with a few members of the Steering Committee. We watch old games over a drink to relive those moments of great emotion that our team has given us. It’s really difficult for us because we can’t meet in the stadiums, so we just make do with the old games.”

Like most other countries, Cote d’Ivoire has no set date for the resumption of football. In the meantime, Kouadio and his fellow supporters have to make do with nostalgia, while remaining hopeful that next year’s Africa Cup of Nations 2021 is not postponed.