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Our interview with Alex Alija Čizmić, one of the founders of the Calcio Africano site, who has recently returned from Tunisia where he attended the African Cup final.
Where does the passion for Africa and African football come from? Is there a team that led you to all this or is there a story behind it?
I feel like saying that the passion for Africa and its football is “only” a part of the passion that drives me to explore all the parts of the world unknown to me. To learn and not take anything for granted. To learn and avoid judgment accordingly. To learn and get to know each other.
Entering more into the “Calcio Africano” project, the idea was born initially from the passion and competence of Vincenzo Lacerenza who last March, more as a hobby than anything else, decided to open a Facebook page on football on the Black Continent. A few months later we confronted each other and on 17 October we started with a more serious and structured project
Have you recently seen the two African Champions League finals in Africa, where does such a hazard come from and what is the next destination you have in mind?
The African Champions League finals have a double meaning: personally it is a travel experience that, regardless of everything, I would have liked to have sooner or later; professionally, if we can say so, it represented the desire to give space to a football area too often neglected in Italy, starting immediately.
Because as the wonderful experience taught me by the editorial staff of MondoFutbol.com (international football newspaper for which I worked for 2 years which on November 21 communicated the closure and to which all my thanks go, ed), the facts they must be told from the place of events. And for this reason, the next destination I have in mind is undoubtedly the Africa Cup of next year.
When we talk about the Middle East we often talk about these teams but what is it there to be on the field? What differences are there in particular between Egyptian and Tunisian fans?
Well, being “on the field” gives you the real perception of the situation you are experiencing. It makes you grasp nuances that from home or simply from outside you could not grasp and allows you to eliminate prejudices and filters of all kinds.
Speaking of the fans specifically, I can say that the Espérance fans were much more lively and noisy (in relation to the catchment area of the two clubs). At the airport in Cairo, before leaving for Tunis, I came across a large group of Esperantists who improvised a stadium atmosphere in the waiting room; Ahlawy fans, on the other hand, both possessed at the Borg El Arab stadium and silent and almost invisible around the capital, probably also, if not above all, due to the current political situation that “advises” them against meeting and professing their faith for Al-Ahly.
Personally we are very intrigued by countries like Senegal or Sudan because they are a sort of border between the Arab and African world, is there any place in Africa that you would like to visit beyond football and why?
I know it will be trivial, but I would like to visit all the countries of Africa.
If you force me to choose, I tell you that I would like to complete all of North Africa and then visit Senegal. In my palace, I have always lived with a very large Senegalese community that often made me happy or stole a smile and therefore I would like to discover their land