World Cup Fever in the Solomon Islands

With only two matches left to be played to decide the winner of the 2014 FIFA world cup, I thought I would write about one country in particular that has caught world cup fever.

The Solomon Islands.

This island nation in the South Pacific has caught world cup fever hard and it seems like everyone here is only talking about one thing.

People have been waking up at 3am to watch some of the matches and from my house I can hear the cheers as a team scores a goal floating across the valley.

The mini buses here have flags from the team that the driver supports waving from the aerials and people have written supportive messages such as ‘go Brazil’ in the dust that cakes most of the cars here during the dry season.

Each day that a game is on, people will gather together in their streets and neighbour hoods to watch the match together.

Crowded around one TV that someone owns people have set up tents or strung pieces of tarpaulin across their gardens to provide shade from the heat.

Walking to work each morning I would pass by groups of locals crowded around television sets watching the game, cheering if their team scored a goal or groaning in disappointment if things went wrong.

This morning myself and my housemate on our morning walk to work stopped to chat with one of our neighbours and were invited to watch the game with them.

Watching the semi final between Brazil and Germany, crowded around a small television in someones front garden in the Solomon Islands, I wondered if the players understand just how much of an impact the world cup is having on people in some of the most remote places on earth.

Here people are waking up early and coming to work late in order to watch the match.

An instant conversation starter is to ask people which team they are supporting.

Those without access to a television are spending their time on the internet looking up the match plays and the photographs from the game to re live the action.

Everyone has a team they are passionately supporting.

It felt as though almost every Solomon Islander was supporting Brazil in the world cup, but after today’s landslide victory of Germany, instead of the devastation I was expecting, there was instead a simple shrug of the shoulders and most people swapped team allegiances and are now backing one of the three remaining teams.

You will be hard pressed to find more ardent soccer admirers than the people of the Solomon Islands.


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