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Monday, 3 June, 2002, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
Nigeria's World Cup fever
Ike Shorunmu stopping Gabriel Batistuta
Nigerians take the World Cup very seriously

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The Lawanson and Mushin suburbs in Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos, are places many people love to hate.

The squalor and hooliganism discourages people from visiting both areas.

But during the World Cup, both districts are buzzing with excitement.

Second-hand television sets, neatly stacked on top of one another in front of the rows of shops in these areas, serve as viewing points for many people in this football-mad country.

Tv shop in Lagos, Nigeria
TV shops become viewing centres

Every World Cup match will be shown on television and the shop owners are ready to please the crowds they expect to besiege them.

"We always have many roadside viewers," shop-owner Victor Ihejietu told BBC Sport Online.

"During this World Cup, shops selling TV sets will be jammed by viewers. We will all watch the matches together."

Power problems

Kingsley Osamba, another shop owner, has gone one step further - purchasing a power generator to supplement supply from Nigeria's notoriously unreliable electricity company.

"We're used to power failure in Lagos," he said. "I won't want to disappoint my customers who have told me that they will watch the games in my shop."

Barber shops, restaurants and bars have also been gripped by World Cup fever.

"I think I'll have lots of customers during the period of the World Cup," said smiling bar-owner Ebere Olejeme.

"But the gate fee to watch a World Cup match is buying a drink or a meal. Or maybe a cup of coffee or tea, as the games will be in the mornings."

Priorities

Kick-off for most games, including all Nigeria's first-round group matches against Argentina, Sweden and England, will be at dawn.

Lagos lawyer Gabriel Ojiekhudu has kept his mornings free as a direct consequence of the World Cup schedule.

A World Cup viewing centre in Lagos
One of the viewing centres being built

"Since February, I'd ensured that all my court cases and other work appointments will be only in the afternoons," he said.

"My passion for football is huge. So, apart from Nigeria, I'll be watching how Cameroon, Brazil, Denmark, England and newcomers Senegal will perform," he said.

Football is the national sport in Nigeria and the Super Eagles are making a third consecutive World Cup outing.

A few Lagos-based churches have moved their early morning mass worship times to accommodate the football viewing habits of their members.

To avoid absenteeism, companies have also installed huge screens in open squares and public parks for fans to watch the matches.


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