2014 World Cup
Welcome to the jungle, England's Manaus locals tell fans
Publish Date: Jun 13, 2014
Welcome to the jungle, England's Manaus locals tell fans
A Brazilian Satere-Mawe indigenous man gets his face drawn as he waits to watch the FIFA World Cup inaugural match btween Brazil and Croatia, on June 12, 2014 in Manaus, Amazonas state, Brazil. PHOTO/AFP
  • mail
  • img

MANAUS - English residents in Manaus have told their Brazilian neighbours not to fret over the expected invasion of hordes of England football fans despite their worldwide reputation for wild partying.

England's most energetic fans have something of a bad reputation throughout most of the world due in particular to a sorry history of football hooliganism.

That was largely confined to club football in the 1970s and 80s but even at the 1998 World Cup there was tension between England hooligans and local youths of north African origin in the French port of Marseille.

But Englishman Chris Westwood, who lives in Manaus, says people shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

"I think there's a popular misconception that England fans just sit and drink and sing songs," he said.

"These guys that come to World Cups have been to South Africa, they've been to Japan, Germany, some of the older ones might have even been to the (United) States back in the day, so they are quite well travelled and do like to go and see things.

"They don't like to just sit and watch football, they like to get to know the city."

Not everyone is so sure the average English fan is cultured enough to visit the local area which was the Amazon centre of the country's 19th century rubber boom.

So far only a few hundred fans have made it to Manaus and they've been keeping a low profile, sunning themselves, seeking shelter from the heat and humidity with a beer or going for a cruise down the Amazon river.

"I fear for what's going to happen when the mass of English fans descend upon here, the city centre, because there isn't a mass of bars," said Phd student Chris Brown, who also lives in Manaus.

"I am not entirely convinced that the bars that are here are prepared for what's about to hit them, especially if England lose on Saturday."

Battered reputation

Even if England fans are well behaved, they have some making up to do in the local area to restore the country's battered reputation, says Adrian Bernett, a British rainforest ecologist at INPA in Manaus.

"Unfortunately, the thing that the Brits are remembered for is a chap called (Henry) Wickham who legally, with permits, boated out of here with thousands of rubber seeds, (germinated them) and then went to Malaysia and it ended the Brazilian monopoly on rubber.

Brazilian Satere-Mawe indigenous peopel gather to watch the FIFA World Cup inaugural match between Brazil and Croatia, on June 12, 2014 in Manaus, Amazonas state, Brazil. PHOTO/AFP

"So basically, the Brits, not only did they build the place largely, they are also responsible for destroying it and that's what people remember."

If the local residents don't get their own back on the Brits, then maybe the wildlife will, according to Martin Pollard, an England fan who lives in China.

"When I was in the jungle on Wednesday and it was hot, and there were lots of creepy crawlies, and I suppose if you're not careful, you might get bitten or eaten by something not very nice," he said.

The flames of discord between the English and the locals were fanned after a row broke out when English manager Roy Hodgson said the heat and humidity of Manaus would be problematic for his team.

That brought a rebuke from the local mayor Arthur Virgilio, who said the England manager and his team were not welcome in his city.

But not all Manaus residents are planning a hostile reception for the English.

"We will receive them and show them that Manaus is not what they said it was: heat, humidity. We will welcome them with open arms," said Alfredo Prado, who is responsible for the Rua da Copa street decoration project in Manaus.

Perhaps the worst thing that could afflict the heavy-drinking English in this hot and humid corner of the Amazon is dehydration.

But Westwood says the remedy can be found in a fruit which is in abundance in Manuas -- coconuts.

"I should let them know that this is great rehydration, it cures a hangover brilliantly," he said of coconut milk.


Also related to this story

Manaus pitch 'not fit for a World Cup game'


The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Brazil parts with coach Luiz Felipe Scolari
BRAZIL'S football confederation will not renew the contract of national coach Luiz Felipe Scolari after the five-time World Cup winners were mauled by Germany in a humiliating 7-1 defeat...
Germany erupted in ecstasy Sunday, with fans dancing the night away, the World Cup final win against Argentina that handed the country its historic fourth title....
Germany beat Argentina to win 2014 World Cup
Mario Goetze comes off the bench to score the winning goal as Germany beat Argentina in the Brazil 2014 World Cup final....
ARGENTINA coach Alejandro Sabella claims his side will need to play a perfect game to overcome favourites Germany and win the World Cup for a third time in Rio de Janeiro...
World Cup 2014 stars and flops
A look at players that excelled in this World Cup and those that were expected to perform but turned out to be awful....
World Cup glory: Germany in Messi
If there is one scenario the approximately 200 million Brazilians dread witnessing this Sunday, its rivals Argentina celebrate a third World Cup title on Brazilian soil....
Is Uganda ready for the pope's visit?
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter