HARARE - The family were on the edge of their seats, cheering on their World Cup heroes, when the television screen went blank in their Harare home, silencing the commentator and the buzz of the vuvuzela.
"They could have spared us the power cuts just for this month," said an exasperated Tafadzwa Goliati. "The World Cup only comes once every four years."
Erratic power supplies have long been an accepted part of life in Zimbabwe, but football fans had hoped the month-long tournament in South Africa would provide some respite.
Indeed on the eve of the tournament, energy minister Elias Mudzuri promised that power utility Zesa would suspend power cuts to enable fans to enjoy uninterrupted coverage.
On Wednesday, Mudzuri was fired from his post after growing anger among World Cup viewers left in suspense by mid-match blackouts.
Even during the opening match, Zesa cut the power in some suburbs in the capital.
"At any other time we could have accepted it as we are used to load shedding," Goliati, a resident in the working class neighbourhood of Chitungwiza, said.
To avoid disappointment, fans are trekking to fan parks where they are assured of uninterrupted coverage on big screens with stand-by generators - for a dollar-a-head admission fee.
"We are forced to go to fan parks even though the weather is not favourable," Itai Musengi, who watches evening matches at an open-air fan park in the city centre, said.
The power cuts don't spell doom and gloom for everyone, though.
For hardware stores and traders selling generators, the power cuts have spawned a high demand for generators, TVs and other electrical goods.
Bars, many of which have generators, are also reaping benefits from the power cuts as more people go out to watch games.
One shopowner has turned his store into a fan park after connecting a TV set to a generator.
"Some people walk up to 5km to the fan parks," Prosper Muvengwa, a spokesperson for one of the companies which sponsor the fan festivals, said.
Zimbabwe requires 2200MW of electricity every month, but can only produce 1100MW, forcing Zesa to import the remainder. - Sapa-AFP