By Other Means

Rice, Andrew
March 2004
New Republic;3/15/2004, Vol. 230 Issue 9, p34
The author presents an account of a soccer match between a Congolese team and a Rwandan team played in Kigali, Rwanda. One fan leaned across the beer bottles and bowls of goat stew that littered our table. "Rwanda can afford to lose to any side," he said, "except Congo." He was right--this was a serious showdown, the last of Rwanda's qualifying matches in the African Cup of Nations tournament. A win against Congo would have preserved Rwanda's hopes of making the second round, but there was more at stake than soccer supremacy. Twice in the past decade, Rwanda has gone to war in Congo. Sportswriters are fond of calling international soccer "war by other means"; usually, they're wrong. But, in Africa, martial metaphors often hold true.


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