“Shapa” literally translates to “beat,” so when the Botswana people yell “Shapa Zebras shapa” they are telling the Zebras (the soccer team) to beat their opponent.
Disclaimer: There are a lot of pictures in this post. So it’s kind of long.
On Saturday, it was the Botswana vs. South Africa football match. I put on my (newly bought) soccer jersey and was ready to go!
Maren, me and Kameron (William and Mary) ready for the game with our blue, white and black.
We walked to Riverwalk in the morning and several times on the way we got shouts and cheers because people were seeing 3 Americans in Botswana football jerseys (quite a shock). We actually got stopped (when we got to the mall) by two guys in South African jerseys. Not sure if they just wanted a picture with Americans or with people in Botswana jerseys…
My ticket to the game (courtesy of Brian). We all tried to save our ticket, but the people checking them said no they had to tear them all up, so at least someone got a picture of it.
We went to the stadium right after lunch, which was before 1pm and by that time the stadium was already mostly full in the seating area where we were. We arrived with about 2 rows of seats left, and the game didn’t start until 3pm.
All of the people sitting behind us.
A picture of us in the crowd right when we got to the stadium. Lots of blue!
We also had to get our tickets checked twice: once at the gate into the university (they used the university pitch) and then again at the gate of the stadium (where they ripped up my ticket). The university kind of went on lock-down mode for the game. They closed the main gate that is always open and they were charging cars to get on campus for parking, because there was increasing traffic at the university. This is a picture of the line of people waiting to get their tickets checked at the first gate into the university:
Since we got to the stadium more than 2 hours early, I had plenty of time to check out the international football scene.
The pitch. The stands that you see are reserved for officials (who don’t have to pay for a ticket apparently) like the president and other important people. They have actual seats there, whereas the other stands (next to it and where we sat) are on the cement/stone.
Flags flying at the stadium. There is the SA flag, the Fifa flag, not sure what that big one is nor the third one, but the last one is the Botswana flag. They also had the cameras shooting the game on the roofs of these bleacher/seating area. I think you’ll see them in one of my other pictures.
Some fans dressed up and rallying the crowd before the game.
More fans. Why didn’t anyone give me a zebra snuggie for the trip so I could match them?
Crowd ralliers. They are dressed like tribe dancers (like from my cultural immersion day) and they walked around the track getting the crowd to chant things (that I couldn’t understand) and got everyone excited. During the match, the crowd would sing chants and songs that apparently these people (the ones in the picture) made up for the football team.
Vuvuzelas ready for the game.
Zebras coming out on the pitch. They’re in orange warm-up jerseys because the big sponsor here in Botswana is the cell phone company called Orange.
South Africa team warming up. They got a lot of boos when they came out, especially from where I was sitting because we were on the South Africa side of the field for warm-ups.
Singing the national anthems. I didn’t realize until the game that I had never heard the Botswana national anthem before. Of course I couldn’t understand it because it was in Setswana, but it sounded nice 😀
Some more fans bring around a large zebra right before the game starts. Everyone tried to touch it (maybe for good luck?)
Then the game started. South Africa scored the first goal, not how much into the game. It was the first corner kick of the game and was headed into the goal. It was actually a pretty nice goal, but not really what we wanted (South Africa was expected to win this game kind of easily). But Botswana came back at the middle/end of the first half with a not-as-clean goal (I thought it was a little messy), but a goal nonetheless! It was crazy how excited everyone got.
Celebrating! And Megan (Case) throwing up the peace sign.
More celebration! It was wild.
Right after the goal, the people on my side of the field started singing a song in Setswana and pointing at the South Africa fans across from us:
The song basically said “we heard you were gossiping about us yesterday and now we’re mad” as a kind of chant against South Africa now that we tied up the score. The rest of the game was entertaining with a little bit of unnecessary acting (it’s not a real game without it). Here are some more pictures from half-time.
The same crowd of people who paraded the stands in the international friendly against Lesotho came by our stands during half-time. This time they brought a human zebra with them!
I don’t know if you can tell, but it’s gotten more crowded since we got to the stadium 2 hrs early. There were people lined up in front of the seats, so everyone in the stands had to stand up, and all the way up to the fence that kept people out of the track and the field. When people got excited, they would bang and yank on the fence (a metal fence) and I was afraid the fence would get knocked over.
So final score: 1-1, which is a good outcome for Botswana, even though that puts them at the bottom of the rankings right now (SA only has 2 points). But there are still many more games until the World Cup!
That night, we baked a cake for one of the UB students whose birthday was that day. We decided not to make the cake from scratch, because we don’t have an egg beater, so we had to go with cake mix. But we didn’t have a baking pan, so, like with all of our other baking endeavors, we had to improvise! We ended up making a make-shift pan out of tin foil and held it up in a large black tray with a utensils barrier fashioned by Andrew (Rutgers)-we’re engineers! The cake actually turned out really well:
And although we were a little bit worried about what kind of cake mix we used, it didn’t end up tasting like horse-radish!
We gave the cake to the birthday boy a day late (on Sunday) but we had candles and everything. We’ve learned since our first birthday (Megan’s). He loved it! And the rest of us did too, because it was like real cake! I am now 4 for 4 on baking in Botswana 🙂