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Football Force 101

I could operate the computer long before I read or tried understanding the basics of the device. In Africa, it’s mostly done this way. We do and later we take lectures about that which we do. Mostly.


I started playing football long before I understood a worldwide officially accepted laws guided the game. Growing up, soccer had few basic rules:

— kick with the legs, control with the body and head, don’t touch with the hand, you can use your lips if you like.

— select a team and play against equal number of players as opponents. Only play less when you have agbayas in your squad.

— play fair for posterity. Playing rough or inflicting injuries on any other player is only a social crime. It could fetch you a hard retaliation. It could end up seeing you kneel before your parents in the evening, when the parents of the injured visit your house later that evening or early next morning. Which ever way, you rarely go scot free. If the injured is more influential, you are affected depending the extent of such influence. If the influence relates to ownership of the ball, you could be banned from playing the ball. If the influence relates to ownership of the pitch (mostly a plain space in a compound or open piece of land), you could receive a ban from the pitch. Nothing really was relatively sure, just the variances of the social punishment.

— mostly it wasn’t usually about the goals, only if it was a local ‘set’ challenge. Which meant you needed to score a team set for another team to play while the defeated team waited for its turn. Otherwise, the goalscoring team (or goal scorer) shared almost the same glory with the skillful displaying team (or dribbler/entertainer).

— at often times, a passerby needed to play the unofficial role of a VAR or Referee. How many times we had to argue about a play being a goal or not. If we are lucky enough, a road user or jobless person, who is around as a no-ticket viewer wades in to give his verdict. Based on what he saw. Often they are usually not age mates, stakeholders, or related to the players, so their final verdict is accepted.

You get the idea now. We all developed into football this way. It was this way first, for most of us, before TVs and other medium informed our knowledge.

Forget the Physical Health Education. We were already nursing broken nails, peeled toes, bruised knees, opened skin long before we meant the PHE teacher. And even at that. How effective would we say the PHE classes were on our football? Volleyball, yes… And other sports.

For many reasons we didn’t bother about the science of the game. We only started listening or learning when we wanted to go pro. For Inter House Sport competition we just needed to know the offside rule and often allow the sports master or Referee to guide.

Academy is a new thing to us.

Spain – Chile – 10-09-2013 – Geneva – Andres Iniesta

In some countries, how to kick a ball and other sciences of the game were learned as basic subject from childhood.

I have just succeeded in revealing two situations to you. How a Jay Jay Okocha started playing football as to how an Andre Iniesta started.

Augustine Okocha, Nigeria

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About Ediale Kingsley

Ediale Kingsley is the Founding Editor of Jersey Number Twelve and Head of the Trends & Sports desk at National Daily Newspaper. He thinks he is polygamous, married to three wives; Football, Laptop and Internet. When not writing, he is writing or prepping to write. These days he is everywhere talking, filming and showing-up football and films. This National Daily trained journalist went to school to be a graduate in accounting.

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