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What do you know. While I’m banned from the pitch and thought that the idea of this blog was bedridden as well, Krish just happened to mail me the comments about Episode 6. One man blog you said? Save Football is back on track.

15/08/09: 7am and only 4 players on the pitch. · The absence of many of the Rotaractors confirmed the rumours of a late night of partying. · 4 more Rotaract showed up defying all accepted notions that a nightlong comsumption of alcohol and early waking up are incompatible. · 4 vs 4 match started · Out of the blue the AWOL members of the core 8 appeared with some friends. · The first “proper” match since the beginning of our fight started: a good old 8-a-side! · The match ended 5-3 but mostly due to the fact that the losing team`s goal keeper “Singh is King” Pam did not have any shoes and the striker “Himesh” Ashish forgot his glasses. · To be noted that even though the “cagenappers” were present, they did not dare to strike.

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Save Football, I’ve been screaming. Week 5, the author of this blog had an 8-a-side tournament – office sports days. Even though the team made it to the semi-finals, we were eliminated because of the silly 8-a-side rule that says corners = 1 point each. Nonetheless, final 5 minutes of the match that would determine the bronze medalists, I scored a nice sleek goal. 30 seconds or so later, my knee gave way and I was sent crashing to the ground.

1st diagnosis: knee sprain. 2 hours later, X-ray didn’t show any fracture. However, on the second day, faced with a massive swelling, I rushed to an Orthopedist. 2nd diagnosis: Hemarthrosis (internal bleeding in the knee joint). I’m out for at least 2 months. But worse still, I’ll be spending that time hoping, praying that I can run again…

Till then, Save Football is officially on hold.

Edit July 2011: As it turns out, I completely ruptured my ACL during that injury. Took my doctor one year to diagnose the problem and another year before I was lucky enough to have it grafted. 10 months of rehab later, I have been given the green light to tread on a football pitch again. Game on!

02/08/09: Six members of the “Core 8” being officially AWOL, only two players confirmed they would be coming today. We said it before and we say it again: we are not of those who give up easily. However, help came from an unlikely source: Rotaract members. They were 5 to join us today, 4 new-comers, and we managed to field a 4-a-side.

The match ended 9-7, the “Cagenappers” didn’t strike and we managed to make a few videos of the morning football match. Sheer bliss! Please check the video below. Be wary though that the quality of the images does not convey an iota of the real feeling of playing a football match on the MGI football ground on Sunday mornings. Still, we hope you’ll enjoy it.

Our objective is to try to develop a faithful pool of football players on Sunday morning again. We’ve tried within our circle of friends, and the closest we’ve come to is the “Core 8”. Either young people would rather oversleep a Sunday morning… or we don’t have that many friends. But we’d rather settle for the first one.

So here we go: we’ll try to upgrade this blog next week with pictures and movie clips. But right now, we’re trying to spread the word by linking this blog to other Mauritian blogs and by creating a Facebook group page. Depending on how many people feel close enough to our cause, we’re expecting a maximum of around 50 – 100 members on Facebook. If one fifth of those could join us on the field, we’ll have attained our objective!

There’s more: Facebook offered an ad service to promote the blog and group: estimated target reach? 4500 players! Do we want to continue? Hmm… $0.04 per click, 22 clicks estimated per day… Let’s just see how “normal” things develop first. We don’t want to give in to commercial proselytism yet.

19/07/09: The “Hare Rama Hare Krishna” lads are still not picking up their phones. We start to look around other unexploited pools of players: facebook. We sent out invitations on our status, but on such short notice, no one responded positively. However, promising as it sounded, three players confirmed that they would be coming the following week. On Saturday evening though, three players out of the “Core 8” informed that they had other obligations the following day. We would be down to 5 players only. The ruling was harsh but inevitable: no football that week. Cancellation sms messages were sent to each other.

Next episode: “Attack of the ‘Cagenappers'”

12/07/09: We are back on track. Calls were made, sms messages were sent, new players were enlisted: we tried to rally the troops. The “Hare Rama Hare Krishna” lads were contacted and they expressed their interest to get things moving again. However, by Friday, they did not respond to our calls to confirm.

Rendez-vous point was outside the Mahatma Gandhi Institute premises at 06 30 on Sunday morning. At 07 15 however, only three of us were present. Finally, 4 others showed up and we were told another one was already on the field.

We ended up with a 4 v/s 4 run-out, along the width of the secondary football ground. Our bags were used as cages, no goalie, each total of three corners earned a penalty that was shot from the halfway line. The match ended 8-7.

A promising start, we thought. Even though we wished the “Hare Rama Hare Krishna” lads had shown up, we were reassured that the core of the team – 8 players – was still faithful. The “Core 8” were born.

Next episode: “Failure”

Several months passed. Sunday morning was boring again. Until we learned something: the teams that usually play on the Mahatma Gandhi Institute football ground never had any permission from the administration! But why would the security guards allow them to play on the field then? Simply because they parked their vehicles outside the institute premises and walked in, like regular joggers do! One month ago, we gave it a try, and went to play among them. It wasn’t the same; they are more competitive, more skilled, expect too much physical implication for our amateur level – they were the “Skilled Ones”. The fun wasn’t here and we decided not to renew the experience after giving it a try for three consecutive weeks. Then it struck us: all we needed was to get our old “Hare Rama Hare Krishna” mates to park their vehicles outside the premises and we’d be out playing again!

This is where this blog really begins: Chapter 3, Week 1.

Sunday became boring. It seemed lifeless. Plus we started to notice the effects of the absence of exercise on our abs! It was decided then: we started to gather information about the Mahatma Gandhi Institute football grounds, which was 2km from the field we grew up playing in. The reason we wanted to stick to that region is because it is equidistant from most urban agglomerations (from Port Louis to Quatre Bornes) and the Sunday morning micro-climate there is the most ideal one for football practice in the island.

The conditions to use the MGI football grounds were: we had to be residents of Moka/Saint Pierre, had to be a formally licensed team and had to address a letter to the administration of the Institute. But more importantly, there were no fees. Even though we were neither residents of Moka/Saint Pierre nor a formally licensed team, we managed to obtain some documents that allowed us to use the field for a period of 3 months.

It was then that we realized the seriousness of our situation: during the one-year span we didn’t play football, we lost most of the faithful football friends we had. They were no longer interested/motivated to join us in this new chapter. We had to look for other players. Gathering around as much as possible, we managed to unite a meager 8 person team. It was better than nothing and we started with a 4 v/s 4 run-outs on Sunday mornings. We never imagined our Sunday mornings would come to this.

One day though, a group of players asked if we would have a match against them. They were a bunch of “Hare Rama Hare Krisna” lads… in football gear! Given our situation, it seemed… God sent. We played against them and agreed that we should meet up every week for the match. It soon became a regular feature. Our Sunday football was alive again and we were enjoying it. But as all good things come to an end, it lasted us only three months. Our permission had expired. And when we tried to update it, we were told that we should pay for the football ground here as well.

The Mauritian bureaucracy does not like the population practicing sports, it would seem. We were back to square one.

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 perfect 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 out of 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 the football match continued.

But then, destiny 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 – or 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.

Wake up at 6 a.m, call your designated friend to wake him up, brush your teeth, grab your football gear and drive your car to the field. Since more than 10 years, Sunday mornings are meant for football. That’s how our fathers did it and that’s how we do it… at least that’s how we’re trying to do it.

Down the years, a simple activity such as playing football has become more and more tedious in Mauritius. From a glorious pool of 25  highly competitive players kicking the ball around on the University of Mauritius football field on Sunday mornings, only two players remain today. But we just won’t let it go away that easily.

Faced with the events of the day, we decided to start this blog. Our objective: tell our story to the world and, in doing so, motivate young Mauritian football players to join our ranks. We are amateurs, we love football and we need you!

Help us save our football!

Contents

As it happened

October 2019
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Potential Players Count

  • 671 visits from potential players
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