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When Sunday Comes

22 August 2006 - 4:52pm -- Joseph

Sunday, rather than Saturday seems to be the main day for footie here in Cameroon, which as it turns out, is rather handy, because I can play footie while Hev goes to church. I've started going down to the main stadium in Buea on Sunday mornings to play in a training game for a football club.

(I'm not quite sure which football club it is, but I'm making arrangements to join. This has all been arranged by my New Best Friend Didimus, the man is a star.)

There's a proper game on the same pitch later in the afternoon (first or second division, not sure which), which some of the guys I'm playing with play in. All of which is a bit like having a kickabout with Dennis Wise and the boys at the county ground on a Saturday morning.

Needless to say I was worried about completely embarrassing myself, but the first week went okay. I played most of the first half before being subbed without showing myself up.

This week however I was shockingly bad even by my own low standards. Also, it was raining and the pitch was wet. You'd think I'd be used to this, but the pitch is sandy dirt, which when wet, turns into a sludgy mess. This conditions fooled me into thinking I could slide for a ball. You can't. I shredded my knees. Well, one knee, the other's just a bit scratched, but there's gouge marks from stones, which you don't get on astroturf...

On the plus side, the graze on one knee got a little infected, so Hev had to clean and dress it, so I got to see nursey Hev in action. Hev's never given me any nursey treatment before (unless you count telling me to 'stop whinging, it's only a cold'). she's very good you know.

Anyway, I hope that despite my terrible showing this week, I'll still be able to join the club. The signs are good, they're a friendly lot, several of then told me 'well played' after the match, a friendly white lie that pervades football culture throughout the globe, I'm pleased to report.

Something I have found different is that they have a half-time wager on the match. I"m sure people do this in England, but I've never come across it. The idea is that at half time, everyone stakes 500CFA (about 50p), and after the match, the winning teams goes for a beer on the proceeds. I'm not sure about the logic of doing it at half time, given that if you're 3-0 down, you're hardly likely to be keen to cough up your stake are you? But maybe that's the point...

The other problem is that teams don't seem to good at living with decisions. This week, the game ended early, so the losing team claimed the bet as null and void because we hadn't played the alotted time. Last week I think the teams were disputing the scoreline. The first kickabout I went to dissolved into anarchy over a whether a foul was inside or outside the box. Now I wouldn't dream of making any sweeping generalisations about Cameroonians being bad losers (though Emilia did complain to me that England's two penalties against Cameroon in the 1990 World Cup was a case of a case of bias towards big European teams), but I would like to actually finish a game of footie with an agree final score at some point...


congratulations on bringing the concept of "schoolboy knees" to a whole new continent

Cheers Steve, takes me back to Monday nights on 'The Beach' - is it still going?

Unfortunately low numbers along with a combination of holidays and injuries (mostly mine, so no suprise there!) has meant we haven't has a game for a while although I may try and start it up again soon (probably just in time for when yo get back!)

I'm still hopeful of that phone call from Dennis Wise though.

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