Africa: The Playing Fields of Brazzaville

Africans treat soccer as a form of refereed tribal warfare. Nigeria once upbraided a Ghanaian team for hexing the Nigerian goalie with black magic. In 1959 a game in the Belgian Congo between the Luluas and the Balubas touched off a three-day war in which 20 people were killed. Fortnight ago, the former French colony of Gabon sent a team to Brazzaville in the neighboring ex-French Congo* for a game of soccer. The toll so far: nine dead, 70 injured, and several thousand citizens transformed into refugees.

The game in Brazzaville was an...

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