The warm night air here in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, invites us away from our workstations, but I see very few people lounging by the hotel’s poolside. The 33 French ‘Allstar’ print, photo and radio journalists that have converged from all parts of Francophone Africa for this, the final Twenty Ten training module, are only too aware that their deadlines are looming. But there’s a sense of excitement too, for tomorrow we will be attending the Malawi vs Burkina match at the local football stadium.
While this game might not be considered one of the ‘biggies’ on the calendar, it’s certainly an important one for Malawi – as evidenced by the number of that country’s journalists (not to mention their Minister of Sport, sitting upfront in the luxury seats) who joined me on the long aerial trek across Africa to this landlocked country in the west.
Like the Malawians, these Allstar journalists are aware that this first African World Cup – and the build-up to it – grants them an incredible opportunity to showcase their own stories – African tales told from unique perspectives and made available through Africa Media Online.
One such story already online is that of Bridget Chongo, the only female player in Malawi’s Street Soccer Team for the Homeless.
Tendai Sani, Daughter to Bridget Chongo, a female footballer in Malawi’s Street Soccer Team for the homeless plays the ball as her mother looks on during Global Peace Games held at Makata Primary School, Ndirande in Blantyre,Malawi October 3, 2009. Bridget was among the team that went to Italy early September to participate in the Street Soccer World Cup for the Homeless and she scored two crucial goals during games with Belgium which Malawi won with six goals to four and against Germany which Malawi with one goal to nil. As a result the Malawi Street Soccer Team’s Fifa ranking improved from position 40 to No.18.
“The goal she scored against Germany caused Malawi win with one goal to nil and was crucial because it boosted the overall FIFA ranking of the Malawi Street Soccer Team from position 40 before the world cup to No. 18.” So says Malawian photographer Amos Gumulira, who attended one of the previous Twenty Ten training modules. His picture feature on Chongo exemplifies the spirit of the Twenty Ten project, and is a good illustration of the way in which African journalists’ stories can complement those being told by the international media.