A few years ago, after the last World Cup, my local area member of Parliament organised a football tournament that attracted players from different sub-counties in the constituency.
They categorised us according to our occupation witchdoctors, hunters, blacksmiths, magicians, drunkards, mention it. The beauty about village football is that it does not go by Fufa rules. The referee has the powers to decide what he deems fit. That explains why the local area chairman is normally the referee, regardless of his knowledge about football.
The basic rules though are: the players should all be barefoot one team’s members have to discard their shirts so that they can be differentiated from other players and as long as the referee is available, the match should start with immediate effect, no matter how many players are on the pitch.
It doesn’t matter whether one team has less than the required 11 players, or more. It is the kind of game where there are no substitutes. Everybody plays and leaves at their free will, unless one is given the red card, which in most cases is a red shirt or towel. I was in the milkmen team. We were up against the fishmongers for the opening match.
The referee decided that the fishmongers should peel off their shirts since they were used to being bare-chested while fishing. We had a solid team of g milkmen. We managed to score two goals in the first ten minutes. The fishmongers were very rough. They handled us like we were fish.
I remember their defender coming to tackle me. I leapt and he swept an anthill on the pitch. I turned to look back and the anthill was no more. He had leveled it to the ground and kept running like nothing had happened. Most of the time the ball was off the pitch because of such players. The energy they applied to hit the ball could send it past three forests. It is like they were using their feet to play golf.
We would all leave the pitch and start hunting for the ball. By the time we recovered it, it was time for the break and preparation for the second half. My team was in control of the game until the fishmongers started sweating. The odour exuding from their armpits smelt of fish. It was hard to breath and play at the same time.
The more they sweated, the more we lost control and concentration of the game. The milk we had taken also started reacting. My stomach started rumbling such that at one point I thought there was a puppy on the pitch. Our goalkeeper couldn’t handle it anymore and left the pitch.
The fishmongers scored six goals in ten minutes. We all walked off the pitch in protest and petitioned the MP to disqualify the fishmongers’ team or risk losing votes in the next election. He called off the tournament.
Source : The Observer