NAIROBI, Kenya- Nairobi football fans braved the cold weather and thronged the city center on Tuesday night as they were once again treated to the free and ultimate viewing experience during the first semi final of the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup courtesy of the SportPesa viewing and display truck.
With most in the crowd supporting France, cheers and screams as Les Bleus powered their way past Belgium into the final in a 1-0 victory were deafening to say the least.
FC Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti’s headed goal was enough to condemn Belgium to their first and only loss of the tournament, meaning that they will wait to see whether they will face England or Croatia in the third-place play-off on Saturday.
This was the second time that the State of Art truck pitched camp at the Central Business District of the Kenyan capital, the first being the round of 16 shocker that saw the hosts Russia knock out favorites Spain via a penalty shootout.
“I was on my way home after work when I saw this truck parked here. I saw it better instead of going to my local and spend money, I’d rather watch it here with other fans and cheer on my team,” John Kimani, a religious France fan told SportPesa News before the game.
“I am certain we will win this match and make it to the final. I still remember watching the final 20 years ago and I’m hoping for similar success this time round,” he added.
A slight drizzle and biting cold did not scare people away from witnessing the spectacle as they jostled to secure a spot to enjoy the mouth-watering clash in droves.
Curtains opened in neighboring buildings, windows in nearby cars were rolled down as many others stopped walking to gaze at the huge screens mounted on either side of the truck.
Even those as far as 200 meters, did not have to come closer with the clarity and sound quality from the equipment mounted on the truck was enough to grab their full attention.
“This is such a great thing that SportPesa are doing to grow the already established football culture in Kenya.
“Not everyone can afford to go somewhere to watch the game and not everyone owns a television set, let alone lives in a house because of poverty,” Sarah Mwende began.
“This truck has enabled even the homeless people who love football but never get the chance to watch games to enjoy the biggest spectacle in world football.
“I was actually going to go watch it with my husband at home but after I sent him pictures of the truck, he changed his mind and is now on his way to enjoy this experience with me,” Mwende chuckled.
With three games left in this year’s competition, the ‘Stadium On Wheels’ is set to make as many stops around the city to grant people from different areas the opportunity to feel as close to the finals in Russia as possible.
The second enticing semi between England and Croatia tonight (Wednesday) will be screened in Nairobi West and all who haven’t gotten the chance to watch a game on the truck can do so before the third-place play off and finals set for Saturday and Sunday respectively.