BURKINA FASO

Stallions find grass is greener in Angola

There were 88 of them when they left Burkina Faso to support the Stallions’ campaign in Angola; but only 24 have come back. With their team knocked out of the Africa Cup of Nations, Burkina fans have gone underground in the host country. Read more...

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Photo posted on Flickr by jose nicolas photographe

There were 88 of them when they left Burkina Faso to support the Stallions’ campaign in Angola; but only 24 have come back. With their team knocked out of the Africa Cup of Nations, Burkinabe fans have gone underground in the host country. Twenty-five of them even relinquished their passports – entrusted to the trip’s organisers – in the hope of finding a better future in the land of the Palancas Negras. Angola may have been in the grip of a civil war only seven years ago, it is nonetheless regarded as an Eldorado by many Burkinabes. But, for the head of the national union of Burkinabe supporters, the fans’ disappearance is tantamount to treason.

"I still have their passports"

Yacouba Jacob Barry is the president of the National Union of Supporters of the Stallions (UNSE).

I am bitterly disappointed by their behaviour, particularly after we had taken every precaution to ensure it wouldn’t happen. I consider this to be an act of treason. We went to Angola to express our attachment to the nation and support our players. Of the 88 people in the delegation, only 24 have come back. Some, including the higher ranking state officials, stayed behind to follow the rest of the tournament, while others are there to do business. They promised to return before the deadline expires. I do hope they will stick to their word.

But 25 of them have simply vanished in the wilderness. I still have their passports. They are all aged between 20 and 40. They probably see Angola as a rich country, a sort of Eldorado. They went underground thinking it would be easier to find work in Angola than back home. But they are taking a huge risk, because they will soon be considered illegal immigrants and be kicked out by the government in Luanda. They’re going to have to bear the consequences of their act.

This is the first time our fans have deserted us during a trip. Next time we follow the Stallions abroad we will be more vigilant. We have been betrayed once and it won’t happen twice."