It was half time, and it was nail biting anxiety in the campus field. Zuper’s had been losers for seasons on end. They were reinstated at the beginning of this season after three year relegation. The team’s new captain was Osman, a young Nairobi lad who swore only to football when he wasn’t giving his professors a run for their money with his sage like knowledge.
The Zuper’s had risen right from the rocks to the finals. It was a do or die; they were going for the Gold. Osman had no other option. He made that clear to the team. He didn’t care if they had their academic finals in two weeks, the team trained all day and through the night, they needed to win!
The Zuper’s didn’t have a coach; halfway through the tournament he threw in the towel quite literally in the middle of a league match when the team kicked off with a loss.
The tension in the stadium was thick. The defending champs, Rovers from Sori University were out for blood. Their pride wasn’t going to let them lose. Zuper’s had to re-strategize, they were down 1 – 0 with players being brutally injured. Bias refs weren’t going to penalize the champs for the violent tackles and kit ripping.
The only way out was clean undeniable shots, Osman, shifted the team around. He took a risk of dropping defenders and pumping up the offensive; more strikers. He had the first 20 minutes of the second half to see how that would work.
The whistle went off; game faces on.
“UUUUUUUUAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!” Rovers fans were all yelling for the kill. They wanted Zuper’s obliterated.
“GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAALLL!” Zuper fans cheered. They had equalized within the first 5 minutes of the second half. Sori’s coach called for a timeout. When the team got back on the pitch they were drooling for blood. The stadium cheers were rising to fever pitch each side cheering as loud as it could for its teams. The whistle went off Zuper had a corner kick. Zuper fans went wild. Patrick scored. The stadium went wild. But no one prepared for the ambush of kicks and head butts that landed the striker. The referee called time out.
Four red cards to the Sori team, Patrick was incapacitated, completely unconscious. It was down to 7 Rover players and Zuper’s intact team. Their lead striker off the court, 1 minute to time, it was down to penalty kicks. Paul was their only chance. He only had three shots.
‘NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!’ The Zuper fans yelled. Paul had missed the first two shots. One last chance to take the lead; the air was thick. Paul made a sign of the cross took a deep breath and made a running start and… “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLL!” The Zuper fans went wild, Vuvuzelas and whistles filling the stadium. They had done it; they had risen from the ashes to pure victory. Osman was so overwhelmed with emotion he fell prostrate on the ground sobbing, his teammates dog-piled on him in celebration.