Dumela. My name is Faisal Bakhteyar and for summer 2011, I will be interning at True Men Trust, an organization targeting HIV/AIDS issues in Francistown, Botswana. Through this travel blog, I hope to share with you my thoughts, experiences, and adventures in the most unadulterated manner.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Football in Bots

Football (soccer) is big here. Like really big. More people wear Chelsea, Man U, and Italy jerseys than traditional clothing. The Zebras, Botswana’s National Team, were one of the first teams to qualify the 2012 African Cup of Nations and they are very well respected. Botswana has its own league but the South African league is also very popular, especially the Kaizer Chiefs. The Kaizer Chiefs regularly have advertisements on primetime TV for their Kaizer Chief Funeral Plan. Probably for the die-hard supporters. All I know is that football runs in the blood here.  The Ghetto has a multitude of dirt football fields that are constantly packed with players. The goal posts are made of 3 pieces of straight wood and lack any sort of back netting. Because of the lack of grass in this arid country, whenever there is any sort of movement on the field, a cloud of dust rises from the ground making everything even more dramatic.

True Men has its own football team that competes with other government branches and organizations and when Thomas and I first informed everyone that we wanted to play, we were laughed at. Like actually. The project officers introduced us to all the peer educators on the 3rd day of work and everything was fine. As soon as they mentioned that we were going to play on the team, the whole room of 15 peer educators burst into laughter. It was so demoralizing and motivating at the same time.

The issue was that most games are on weekends when we are off exploring the country. A couple of weeks back though, the game was on a Monday after work and we were determined to play. The game was against another organization dealing with vulnerable children. We had rip off Man U jerseys and they had rip off Inter jerseys. It was my first time in a Man U jersey, and though it was clean, i felt dirty.
(photo credit: Isabelle Jones)
School had just been let out and so there we had quite the crowd not to mention all our co-workers. Without cleats, Thomas and I struggled to stay up in the initial stages of the game. The ground was a mixture of dirt, pebbles, and broken shards of glass. Falling was gambling with life. I was so unbelievably out of shape, and in the arid climate, a water break was necessary after 4 minutes. The other guys were not as good as they made themselves out to be and Thomas and I did the QPID proud. The final score was 5-7 and the loss was unfortunate but we were glad that we had maintained our dignity. Good times in Botswana.
The Team (photo credit: Isabelle Jones)

1 comment:

  1. HAHAHAHA, you in a Man Utd jersey!?!?
    but sounds like it was fun