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Posted at 1:59 PM ET, 01/29/2008

The African Cup of Nations Runneth Over

By Fritz Hahn

I really envy people who work in Silver Spring. It must be so nice to look up at the clock, realize it's lunchtime and slip out to Roger Miller Restaurant over on Bonifant Street and watch some of the best soccer on the planet.

The Africa Cup of Nations tournament is taking place right now in Ghana, with the continent's top 16 national teams facing off in a festival of free-flowing attacking soccer, and for Washington-area fans, this tiny one-room African restaurant is ground zero. Most of the usual soccer-watching hangouts are not broadcasting the games, so if, for example, you want to watch Cameroon play Sudan -- and cheer alongside the restaurant's Cameroonian owners -- this is the place to be.

When I stopped by on Friday to watch the all-conquering Ivory Coast brush aside Benin, every chair in the restaurant had been turned to face the large flatscreen TV that hangs over the bar, with tables moved out of the way to make more room. The capacity crowd consisted almost entirely of African expats whose shirts and scarves revealed a wide number of allegiances -- Nigeria, Zaire, South Africa -- drinking dark Guinness Extra Stout and cheering on the teams playing. There's a lively party atmosphere, as everyone's sharing spare seats at tables and bantering in French about their favorite players. At halftime and between games, the owners play West African music videos.

The Africa Cup of Nations runs through Feb. 10, with the group stages wrapping up this week and the quarter-finals beginning on Sunday. (Check a schedule of matches.) Most games kick off at noon, so I could grab a plate of the spicy groundnut stew (chicken in peanut sauce) and a beer while watching defending champions Egypt take on Zambia tomorrow, or, if it wasn't for a certain chat, Senegal and South Africa on Thursday.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | January 29, 2008; 1:59 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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Comments

It's a real shame there are so few places to be able to watch the ACN.

Posted by: Chico | January 30, 2008 7:23 AM | Report abuse

If you go to telesud.com you can watch the matches for a price. I bought the highlights package for $1.99 which includes 10 min highlights of every game. Definitely a tournament that should be broadcast. I assume the organizers were asking a steep price for broadcasting rights.

Posted by: mizage | January 30, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Are there any other restaurants/bars, preferably in the city, showing the games? Need somewhere to wear my Cote d' Ivoire Drogba jersey.

Posted by: jake | January 30, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

A great post for going out. Africa Cup is a worthy tournament and gets no coverage!

Posted by: lovinliberty | January 30, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Zaire hasn't done much in recent years.

Posted by: Franconia | January 30, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

please weigh in with any other places to watch these games. Anything on TV?

Posted by: eric | January 30, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

There's this one place in Hyattsville, MD called Sahara Oasis showing some of the matches on the weekends. Although its a small restaurant its another option to Miller's restaurant.

Posted by: Bushdoctor | January 31, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Bushdoctor. That little spot is right down the road from Rhome's house, so he's going to try to check it out and report back.

Posted by: Fritz | January 31, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

THANK GOD FOR ROGER MILLER RESTAURANT, WE HAVE FIVE CHOICES OF TV CHANNELS TO
WATCH THE GAME FROM. IT IS GREAT, ROGER MILLER KEEP IT UP.

Posted by: BABILA | January 31, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

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