Monday, June 12, 2006

Angola's struggle

Globe and Mail columnist Stephen Brunt is in Cologne, Germany, for the World Cup, and his piece today reflects on one of the World Cup's most unlikely entries: Angola, who lost yesterday to their former colonizers (Portugal). Here's Brunt:
But for the Angolans, getting here was the triumph, figuratively the longest journey of any country in this World Cup. They come from a place that is ranked 166th of 177 countries on the United Nations poverty index, that has a life expectancy of 45 and that has more land mines buried in its soil than anywhere else on Earth.
The participation of such desolate nations really is one of the most readily evident — and fascinating — differences between the World Cup and any other international competitions.

Hockey is about as privileged a game as they come, in comparison.

I hadn't realized it before the tournament, but Angola is actually one of Africa's largest countries in terms of land area — although the country is home to just 12 million people. Both the diamond — and cocaine — trade are said to flourish there.

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