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Hangin’ Up the Soccer Boots
This week in football news…we played on Saturday and then again on Sunday. These were the last two schedule games of the season (there is one make-up game left), so this week was basically the end of soccer, and what good timing with only a week left in Nsoko. It was somewhat a miracle that I was able to play this weekend because I’ve gotten this really gnarly infection on my knee that began to spread to the bone and was immobilizing. Wisdom, the nurse and my teammate, had to milk out this huge pus filled cyst the size of an ibroprophene tablet and gave me three anti-biotic injections in my butt cheeks.
When Wednesday rolled around, and Wednesdays are the days I speak about the gospel and encourage the guys, it really caught me off guard because that was the last ‘Wednesday’ of being able to preach to them as a whole. Wednesday have become real special days to me, I will definitely miss those nights in the pitch black dark telling my guys about Jesus. And Friday was the last “camp” as well, where all the player come to the center where we live and stay the night and we feed them, then wake up, practice in the morning and then go to the game.
On Saturday we played Nsoko United. We changed up our formation and strategy again and I started in the first eleven. PG put me playing left wing and I played dang good. It was a new position for me and with our formation I got a lot of touches on the ball and was able to make some good things happen, I had some darn tootin’ sweet plays. I would consider it the best game I’ve played yet, but we actually ended up coming out with a lose 3-0. Huge bummer…From this is the first game we have lost since the second round of the season started and this also means that our chances of coming in second place and potential moving up to the Super League Division have disappeared. PG substituted me out at half time though, I had over worked myself from fighting for scoring position and playing my role as a striker and mid-fielder, I got pooped out under the blazing sun. Later that night we had the first ever G-42 FC awards banquet. PG, Majabane and I thought up the awards to give which portrayed good soccer performance and character, from Player of the Season to Best Team Player. Our sponsor for the ceremony bought trophies for the four elite awards and we ate warthog and drank some wine! And without my knowledge, I recieved the award of Team Spiritual Mentor. Its kind of a minor award and they gave it to me just to give it to me, but it still meant a lot, to just have fruit be seen from my labour and bringing more purpose to my time out here and kind of bringing closure to my spirit.
This next game is hard to explain because, like I said before, there is a lot of corruption in the league. So before I also told you about the Black Aces, who are most likely going to finish the league in first place and can move up to Super League but they can’t because all their players are night guards and the Super League games are at night. Well, the Black Aces were willing to give us the Super League spot if we came in second place under them, but since (up until Saturday) we were on a hot streak and beating the mess out of everyone, they were scared that we would beat them and they were asking PG to throw the game, and if we would they would still give us their spot in the Super League, but if we didn’t, then they wouldn’t. Pastor Gift told them that they were more or less sissies and that we would not do such a thing, Jon told them they need to play like men and not a bunch of little girls, I thought that was funny. But after the performance of some of the players on Sunday, PG told me that the Black Aces paid some of our players off to throw the game. Well, I started again, playing top man, or in other words a full time striker. I played well this game too. I created the play which we scored off of, but I had no goal. It kind of sucks to not get a goal, but how many people can say they played professional soccer in Africa? (Besides the professional soccer players in Africa) But I ended up going for another bicycle kick and when the ball was in the air, one of the Black Aces players thought it be a good idea to try and head the ball while my foot is careening toward his cranium and I successfully kicked another guy in the face…and again, I will say, “his face shouldn’t have been in front of my foot…”Ok, so after a good save by our keeper he injured his shoulder and PG didn’t want to put in any reserves because he benched them because he has reason to believe they were gonna try to throw the game, so they switched me to keeper. I’ve never played keeper before, but catching a ball with my hands is my forte, and I really had no clue what I was doing back there besides keeping the ball from going in the net. But anyways the switch to goal keeper was when we were already down a few goals and we ended up losing again. But this is the first year the team had been in the league, any league to be exact, so having the possibility to already move up a league is dang good too. This was the last game I will be playing with my guys. I’m a little bummed at the possibilities of some of the throwing the game, but overall I am very very proud of all of them and I am thankful that I call them my brothers.