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Addis Ababa considers itself spirit host of the UEFA Champions League final match between Real Madrid and Liverpool

Thousands of fans gathering at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa to watch the UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool. (Photo: Haileegziabher Adhanom)
by Haileegziabher Adhanom, Secretary General, ESJA

ADDIS ABABA, May 26 2018 - Exactly 40 days ago the Champions League trophy accompanied by one of the greatest player to grace the game, Ronaldinho Gaucho, paid a visit to Addis Ababa for promotional purpose and was welcomed by thousands of football fanatics.

Meanwhile tonight is the Champions league final, one of the world’s highly coveted club football match for many reasons, and the hype and expectation about the game is at its peak level in Addis Ababa.

Many people may think that at this moment it will be the African city of Cairo, Egypt that will have its expectations heightened because of the UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool taking place in Kyiv. That is for obvious reason. It is because their beloved son and man of the hour, Mo Salah, who according to many is Egypt’s next big thing to the world after the great Pyramids, is playing in the final wearing Liverpool’s shirt.

Unlike Madeira, Portugal (Cristiano Ronaldo), Bambali, Senegal ( Sadio Mane), or Maceio, Brazil (Roberto Feirmino), Addis Ababa does not have a single player to represent her in today’s final match. But the hype and the atmosphere is a true reflection of the love for the beautiful game the residents of this vibrant city have.

Though it is hard to deny the role of local media in creating the hype, by giving excessive coverage of the Champions League final even days before today’s match according to many. But the reality is, it is the natural attachment of the fans with football and love for the game that has brought thousands of fans to the country’s biggest public arena, the Millennium Hall, in Addis Ababa, to witness the glorious encounter which would see either Real Madrid cement their Champions League supremacy or Jurgen Klopp’s red army defy the odds and become victorious.

For anyone getting the chance to join these thousands fans in the hall, he/she will feel the hype, the passion for the game, the celebration, and nothing but a friendly and sporting atmosphere, which is something extraordinary. For some it has even a power to deceive that they are watching the game somewhere around the Olympisky stadium in Kyiv.

Message for UEFA President

It was just a day ago UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, stated that hosting the Champions League final outside Europe has “a theoretical possibility”. After witnessing today’s turnout in Addis Ababa to embrace this exceptional football match, I hope one of the places to be considered for this great football event is none other than my Addis Ababa.

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