Diary of a Girl Engaged to FootballMarch 4, 2015
I think it is best I give a brief history of the diary before I can start. I have been a football fan for as long as I have been a football player. They do, after all, say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Ever since I was a kid, I attempted to do what I had seen on television being done by my favorite stars on the field. I thought I could be a football star in future but several factors connived against this particular dream.
Two decades later, I still love wearing the shorts and cleats, chasing down a size five ball. The priorities have changed from imitation as a form of flattery, to imitation as the sincerest form of learning. The only difference is that I am now obsessed with the tactics of the game, the numbers behind the game and most of all, watching talent grow. I act as a team doctor and assistant coach as well. Enough about me, let’s move on.
These are a few things you need to know. I train with a men’s team, somewhere in Central Kenya. Occasionally, one or two ladies join us. When playing a small sided game, the lads love having me in their team. I’m not too sure whether it is because of my talent or because if I’m in their team and the bibs are not enough, then the other team has to remove their shirts. The field… well, I can tell you that Arjen Robben has more hair on his head, than the field has grass. It is a massive expanse of dusty land but we love it. When it rains, the name of the diary will have to change to soccer in the rain and mud.
3rd March, 2015
Tuesdays are tricky days for training. As the team rests on Monday, most players do not turn up on Tuesday. Today was no different. The coach couldn’t make it so it was up to me to handle the lads. This is a difficult task for someone who is just 4”11 and doesn’t know how to shout. All the same, the training had to go on. The captain and his vice were also absent today, so I had to assert authority on my own. I must say that I did well. I guided the lads through their loading exercises. They had to trot, jog, sprint and do some exercises for body strength. This took like 30 minutes. The lads then got to their favorite part of training- the small-sided game. Small posts are made by counting two steps between the stones- the steps cannot be mine for obvious reasons.
I was in the bibbed team today though I chose not to wear one as they had not been cleaned. I was the only girl, my teammates can’t miss me. The game is played by the rules of FIFA and one extra rule touch ni tatu. This means that every player is only allowed three touches. Anymore, the ball is turned over to the other team. There is also a waiver for effort; this means trying really had to keep the ball in play but it goes out marginally. In this case play goes on.
The result was Bibbed Team 2, Other Team 3. My team lost. To be fair, they scored the third when it was dark. Also, it was windy and the dust was blowing towards my team’s faces so we had obscured vision. There was no accident or incident to report today. The only problem is that the goals were as a result of defensive errors. This means there is so much for the team to work on this week. Till tomorrow, adios!