Football – 16th February 2010
What is a football? When we say it an immediate image I’m sure comes to mind but what defines a football? If we break it down then for it to be a ball all it needs to be is spherical. We would say that it would have to be made out of a certain material, a synthetic plastic or leather and it would have to be a certain size and weight. If we meet these criteria then would we have what we would recognise as a football? One would assume so, yet the footballs I have come across here fit the mould and yet would look more at home in a dumpster than a football pitch. The children, in their desperation to play the beautiful game, use rolled up bin liners and plastic bags, held together tightly by string and ribbon and play with them so much they are almost always in tatters. Imagine then their faces when I revealed 14 brand new size 3, 4 and 5 footballs that we were to use for their team trainings.
‘Rocks lane’ Football and tennis centre have made a pretty hefty donation of equipment for the football team at Wanyange Primary and the appreciation is incredible. As well as teaching English, Science and Maths I am also leading PE lessons and have taken on the school football team. The PE lessons are manic. For my first one I remember following the stampede of children down to the football pitch to see hundreds of purple clad kids covering the field. Purple is the colour of their uniform and it was like a pitch invasion at Wembley if Aston Villa won the FA cup. If that’s possible to imagine! It worked out at about one hundred and fifty children and we played the biggest game of British bulldog I have ever seen. It was a similar story at my first team football training. Hundreds of children of all ages turned up and controlling them all was a logistical nightmare. Especially given that even the oldest ones speak very little English.
What I settled on was to play a match between ‘Primary 5&6’ and ‘Primary 7.’ Here the education system does not work on ones age but on passing exams at the end of each year. Our Goal Keeper is 15 and yet is in Primary 5. He sits next to and copies his brother who is 11! ‘Primary 7’ won the match but the purpose was for me to pick out a team. The problem is that no one knows how to play as a team or even how to play on a team. Some of them are highly skilled but they are greedy with the ball, have no sense of position and are lazy when it comes to defending. This I picked up from watching our first game last week against a local school. We still drew 1-1 which gives me hope but we should have won. Today I am doing another practice match after a bit of training this week and the players I think have excelled are going to be wearing the team kits. They are going to be playing against the hopefuls and they are going to be fighting for their shirt.
Originally on the Rockslane Website: http://www.rockslane.co.uk/Uganda/rockslaneuganda.html