It was a family thing. It all started when our family elders thought we were old enough to challenge them on a football field, around 1994. Add a couple of family friends to the equation; you’ve got the best Sunday morning you’ll ever get. We used to field the younger generation against the old one, and we’d get beat week in week out. Experience always got the better of youthful exuberance. The bragging rights during the week kept the competitive level high and we would still go out there to win. Those were the good old days.

Years went by. Age and tiredness started to take the toll on our elders. One by one, they slowly retired from our own amateur weekly youth v/s veteran tournament. Soon we were down to 8-a-sides. And after a while, even less. That was when one of our uncles invited the “Truck Players” around. They earned this nickname because they would drive to the University of Mauritius football field in a truck loaded with players. The Sunday match was no longer about youth v/s veteran, but us v/s “Truck Players”.

The competitiveness soon gained another level: they were skilled, as per amateur standards. During one year, we even went through an 8-month spell without a win. We shuffled players around, called additional friends as reinforcements and tried everything we could to win. We would still go out there and give it our all every Sunday morning. As time passed, some of us went to study at university abroad and others took the helm to perpetuate this tradition.

Then, fate struck. In 2006/07, the University of Mauritius implemented new regulations concerning the use of its sports facilities and charged outsiders fees to use the football ground. Mercantilism had the last word: some players would rather spend the money on a good evening out – booze – on the eve, rather than pay to play football on Sunday mornings. We gradually lost faithful players and soon, nobody was paying the fees anymore.

A chained lock today stands at the gate of the surrounding fence of the University of Mauritius football field on Sunday mornings. It rang the end of the golden era.