dimanche 13 novembre 2011
Jubilation in Tunisia : A symbolic championship for a historic year
Let’s do a small break of politics with this short article. The Espérance de Tunis, the favourite soccer team of many Tunisians, won the African Cup Saturday evening, ending a 17 year drought without a championship. To put it in perspective for Quebecers, it’s the equivalent of the Montreal Canadiens winning the Stanley Cup.
Fans were celebrating in the streets, shouting and waving team flags. On Bourguiba Avenue, there was a real carnival atmosphere. Cars were honking and passengers were proudly wearing official Esperance colours with gold and blood red team jerseys and scarves.
With this win, the Tunis club puts its hands on their second title in African Champions League after losing in the final three times in 1999, 2000 and 2010. This win qualifies the Espérance for the FIFA Club World Cup which will be held in Japan next December 8 to 18. Legendary FC Barcelone team and their star player Lionel Messi will also participate.
The Espérance beat Wyad Casablanca from Morocco 1-0 after tying the away game 0-0. Tension in the Tunisian camp was very high towards the end of the game as only one goal by the Moroccans would have made them the overall winner with the most goals on the opponent’s field.
The Espérance’s goal was scored by Harrison Afful at the 21st minute. A very offensive minded player, he fought off an opposing defender and easily beat the goaltender with a shot in the top of net. In preceding rounds, Tunis’ had eliminated an Algerian formation and a team from Soudan.
This glorious win in front of 55,000 fans at Rades stadium comes at the perfect time for Tunisians. It culminates a year laden with emotions starting with the historic popular uprising in January, the first democratic election in October, and a magnificent championship in November. Here are pictures of joyful fans celebrating the win :