Karibuni to Boogie’s first blog entry! So far I’ve left the writing to the pro (my missus) but it’s about time that I give you all some of my own thoughts.
On Friday, 28th of September, all eyes turned to Amani’s own football pitch (who needs grass when you have dirt?!), as the Walezi (staff, to which I now belong) were set to take on the Watoto (kids) in an epic battle for school bragging rights. The Walezi (in burgundy jerseys – or ‘jazi’, in Kiswahili) were a few players short (some of them mysteriously disappeared before the game) and had to be supplemented by some willing student-reinforcements. I tried to ask my team mates in what positions they would like to play and soon noticed that this would bare little relevance given the interesting African strategy applied: instead of controlling the match with a clever passing-game, most players would simply try to kick the ball with all their force at every opportunity, hoping to get it as close as possible the opponent’s goal. It took me a while to get used to this interesting brand of ‘Goalie-Pong’ but, alas, I was able to help my team to 5-2 lead by the end of the first half (during which we lined up 80 kids in order to give them each two much-appreciated Gummi Bears). During the second half the Watoto clearly benefitted from the Walezi’s poor physical shape and scored four goals in succession. A last minute header-goal from yours truly then led to the 6-6 end result that everyone seemed happy with (although the spectators did demand a dramatic penalty shoot-out, which they were fortunately denied).
The game was quite intense indeed: the kids passionately cheered us on (and loudly laughed at our every mistake), the young referee was attacked at every turn, and at one point a pretty sizeable dust-tornado swept through the field, causing one of the most dramatic sights I have ever witnessed (due in part to the Kilimanjaro backdrop). Strangely, the kids referred to me (the only white guy on the pitch) as Yaya Touré (one of my favourite players – and a 2 meter tall black man) and all came to high-five me after the game. It was the perfect end to a fascinating week and I’m happy to report that my football career within the Amani grounds has gotten off to a good start…