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On Loving Football

If you’ve been following my tweets lately you can tell that World Cup fever has set in for me. And it’s not just because I’m living in Johannesburg.

I’ve had a long love affair with football thanks to my late father. You see I was *the* quintessential daddy’s girl (in many ways I’ve inherited both his best and worst traits) and for the first few years of my life I was pretty much attached to his hip…all his workmates at the airport knew me, all the waiters at his favorite drinking spots knew me (especially at the Thorn Tree in the then New Stanley where he liked to have a beer or two in the late afternoon with his fellow night shift airport pals), and all the people close to the AFC Leopards team – of which he was a FANATIC – knew me.

I mean FANATIC, as in following them around during East Africa Central games, as in dancing with the isukuti group in “Russia” (and occasionally “financing them”), as in West End in Nairobi West regular, as in the AFC-Gor games were a major event in our household (…if AFC won that was the best time to ask for stuff that would be vetoed and if Gor won everyone was in bed by 8:00 pm because to call his mood foul was an understatement. He even got stoned in the face once by a Gor fan because he was so out of pocket with his taunting…that was scary.

I remember hanging out in our Mada balcony waving the AFC flag (I had a special mini-one) as the isukuti entourage swept through from Kibera on their way to City Stadium or Nyayo Stadium. For a while I was the unofficial AFC mascot, with my Adidas tracksuit, welcoming them at the airport when they arrived with a regional victory (I need to scour the Daily Nation archives for pictures). When I got older and decided that was cheesy, I still went to games with him, but then stopped because I used to get so panicked about his antics. How a normally reserved serious guy went ballistic in the stadium was beyond me.

I knew the songs, the taunts (anyone remember Asante-Kutoka against Ghana), hated Peter Dawo and Peter “Bassanga” Otieno, and assumed major bragging rights among my peers because JJ Masiga was our next door neighbour and I had shaken Kadenge, Mickey Weche and Mahmoud Abbas’ hand. And yes I watched Football made in Germany, my favorite team was Stuttgart.

One day I guess my father felt he needed to grow up and calm down :-) and he stopped being so crazy, but his love for football and AFC was always there and was passed on to him.

From him I learned how important it was to be passionate and devoted to something no matter what, and what being a true fan was. Something I hope to pass on to the girls (actually I don’t think they have much of a choice between me and their dad).

23 comments to On Loving Football

  • Great Post!

    I’m more of a rugby man myself but i can relate to the passion for the beautiful game.

    Enjoy the Worldcup out there.

  • Yamtaa

    Lovely post..

  • Sijui

    Asante-Kotoko my dear, Asante-Kotoko! Very much alive and kicking.


  • B. s. o

    I remember this. we lived in mada as well and my dad was a fanatic as well not only that, he also surpported AFC Leopards (Ingwe).
    we might have been neighbours coz W. Mulamba lived next door. Good artical, the memories came folding back. I could write all day about this.

  • aigo
    hi, it’s aigo, thanks for your sharing

  • Malice

    What good memories! Now this has just brought back the football cheering memories in my family. You should know that my dad was an (AFC Leopards) Ingwe fan and my mom was Gor biro yaune yo!So whenever they played, the family divided into, a family of 9 – mom and dad included… Dad’s group was always inferior coz of mom’s influence – she’s great at influencing! Anyhow, whenever Gor won – party all night long, we’d listen to luo songs from the record player and dance to nyatiti beats and finally eat some fried mbuta from mama Omondi’s kiosk. If it happened to AFC – Ingokho was ready to be slaughtered and dad would dance – after some 3 or 4 tusker exports – to some luhya songs and would make us all dance. I remember the “na anywere akorwanga lumbe” song and the Kadenge na mpira shooty GOOOOAAAAALLLLL. Thanks pundit for bringing back those beautiful memories

  • Thanks for sharing

  • Spinks

    Great memories! Kotoko game was a choice between our school’s first appearance in years in the provincial football finals & a once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch the Kumasi giants & Kotoko it was. Nostalgia indeed, remember clearly us waving “Asante Kutoka” to the Kotoko players as they left in their Rosa after the game. Also grew up in Mada, Weche taught most of us the football we know. Thanks for the memories!

  • Great post! Your thoughts evoke memories of old-school football when the only “premier league” teams we knew were AFC leopards and Gor. I just think Kenyans used to appreciate local football talent then more than they appreciate “Man U” or Arsenal playing today. I have dreamed of the good old days to be back but they went with the wind.

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  • […] Pundit discusses her love with football: “I remember hanging out in our Mada balcony waving the AFC flag (I had a special mini-one) […]