Monday, June 14, 2010
Playing Soccer on Table Mountain
They have been kicking one another in the groin as if the crotch is the ball. Battles royale, no doubt. Yet they call them international friendlies. A kick in the face, a stud on the backside and a mock wrestling combat with a goal-bound attacker...Foul! It’s a penalty!! The kicks and the tackles are bone-crushing and the acrobatic gladiators are having a field day. Their Nike boots uproot grass blades and their Adidas studs dig black soil out of the turf. The stadia are engulfed in the euphoria of the soccer fiesta. From Cape Town to the City of Gold, from Durban to Port Elizabeth and from Soweto to Sun City, everybody is dancing the Samba dance and getting down to it. Even Zuma, the Zulu, is not left out. He dances like a possessed “Brother Jero” and speaks in strange tongues like a “Sangoma” Then he hits the air with his clenched fist, jumps up and down like a spear-wielding Zulu warrior about to capture a new wife and...and... increase the population of the spectators… Noise, noise, noise everywhere. Will somebody make some noise? Now, can you hear the sound, the high-decibel overwhelming sound of the vuvuzela? The message is clear. Africa, blow your horn. Beat the gong. Blow your sax. Let’s hear the tambourine. Play the maracas. Play the conga. Play the agidigbo and beat the talking drum...Bring up the war songs, and pump up the volume. Yes, digbolu kolu. Bafana Bafana, can’t you do like your ancestors? Sizwe Bansi is dead, yes, but Sisi Bonsue is dancing bonsue dance for the Bafana Bafana. Now wake up the roving souls! Make the click sound. You are not alone in the struggle to free Africa from the clutches of European and Latin American domination in soccer! The Black Stars are coming, armed with borrowed PHCN power extinguishers, to dim the stars of the perpetual winners. The Elephants will trample on their soccer boots like the jackboots of Guinea and Niger are trampling on the common man. The Indomitable Hungry Lions will roar and eat the other teams for dinner on the Table Mountain. The Desert Warriors will ride on camels and race to the battle field to stab them with Arabian swords and draw out the first blood in every encounter. Bafana Bafana will plant banana peels in the veld and ambush the soccer-roos and football tigers lurking in the undergrowth. Let them slip and get trapped in the eighteen-yard box when it matters most for them. Let the fighting Zulus come out with their spears to fight the invading Lakayanas. Blow the whistle for the Xhosa braves to come out and defend the fatherland once again. “Kill the Ball”. Sing and dance the miners’ dance. “Kill the Ball”. “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica”. Everybody sing a song, a song of war. “We Shall Overcome”. Where are the Super Eagles? Let them and their supporters come with their lager packs and talking drums as they lead the battle cry, “digbolu kolu, digbolu kolu, Africans, can’t you do like your ancestors? Digbolu, kolu, digbolu kolu...” Make some noise and let them lose their concentration. Yes, this is your year. Africa, this is your year. The moin moin that enters Agege bread in Hungryman’s restaurant can never and will never come out alive! Eewo! Taboo! This world cup is ours, no Jupiter or Neptune can snatch it from us. Iro ni. It’s a lie! Africa shall win and place the World Cup on the Table Mountain in Cape Town for all men to see. Yes o! We shall all drink mqombothi, the African beer, with that gold cup, insha Allah! Igwe! Igwe!! Igwe!!!
Come, are you running mad? What’s wrong with you? Are you soliloquising or what? You are just rambling and rambling like the Ramblers Dance Band without letting any other person talk. You are not even coherent. Why all these shouts of Allah and Igwe? Is there anything amiss?
You must be an ignoramus. Don’t you know that an African team is set to win the World Cup on African soil come July 11?
Fa...fa...fa...foul! What did I say? Foul, not even ordinary foul, it’s guinea fowl!! It’s a lie! For where? No matter how cheap pork is no Muslim can have it for dinner, except a made-in-Taiwan adherent.
I see! Are you Carlos?
No, I’m not carlous or what do you mean?
I mean, are you Carlos Alberto Torres?
Who the hell is that?
He is a Brazilian football legend who said recently that no African nation can win the World Cup this year even if it is played with African electoral commissioners doubling as the centre referee and linesmen.
Haba! That’s uncharitable. What’s that supposed to mean?
Well, he said no African team can go far not to talk of winning. He said our record at the youth level may be impressive but we don’t stand a chance at the senior level.
This is demoralising.
You haven’t heard anything yet. He said, yes, we may have good and skilful players but we need to be more professional.
He may be right. Physical play alone does not win a match. The state of mind also matters. So does the attitude of the player. And, of course, becoming a world champion is not a one-day affair. You can’t just wake up and say you want to win the World Cup without adequate preparation.
I don’t care what you say. All I know is that the World Cup must not leave Africa for the next four years. The moin moin that enters the belly of Agege bread will never come back. The cup has entered Africa and it’s not going back because an African nation must win it. It’s possible if we do our homework very well.
How do we do that it?
You mean how do we fix it? In every African country there are many “Mr. Fix It”. If South Africa does not have we can lend them one.
If you don’t mind, can you be specific on what can be done to achieve this?
Waitii! You are going to Oyo and you are in a hurry, who tells you that the Alaafin will not be in his palace all day holding court? Just be patient like Patience whose patient dog is now eating the fattest bone on the field of play and sipping scotch-on-the-rock inside the rock.
That one na ngbati ngbati proverb. When you are ready, you will come down to my level in the dressing room.
* To be continued.