Friday, 7 December 2012

A night at the pub

Thursday December 7th

A really slobby day today, as I sat at my laptop on the main veranda for most of it.  I’m not a ‘Shangri La’ type and need to be busy, so even in as beautiful a setting as this I soon get bored. Because of this when Denis turned up and said he wouldn’t be round tonight as he was going to Boza to watch the semi-finals of the East African Football Cup, I asked if I could go with him.

The nations in the East of Africa do not do very well in the African cup and certainly don’t produce the international stars that Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Senagal, Cameroon etc. do, but the population are football mad and support for the top  teams in the Premiership and La Liga is universal.  Tonight’s semis were doubly important as they involved two local teams.  Zanzibar were playing Kenya in the first match, followed by Tanzania against Uganda in the second, with both matches being played in the same stadium in Kampala.

Denis rolled up on his bike about 3:45 and I mounted behind him for a much more comfortable journey up THE HILL.  We turned at the top into Boza village and having wound through a few alleys we arrived at the pub.  Basically this was an open wood structure with a thatched roof behind one of the traditionally built houses built using hand-made bricks from the local clay.  The floor was the usual red earth and the ever present hens used it as a shortcut whilst the beams and roof spars were all un-planed timber and held together by bindings of the local sisal. Luckily we were there in time to commandeer a couple of the plastic chairs and join Mr Mmari at a table; late comers had to use 20cm stools that seemed to keep appearing as more fans arrived.  Finally with about thirty people gathered looking at the 23in TV on the end of the ‘bar’, the first semi featuring Zanzibar and Kenya kicked off.  I won’t dwell on the game, only to say that Zanzibar scored two good goals only to be pegged back when their keeper twice came for high balls and failed to clear them.  The match went to penalties and the first of our teams was out.  The second match split the viewing public; twenty nine supporting Tanzania with one very voluble Ugandan in the middle of it all, who obviously had to be sitting next to me.  I had just bought a couple of beers for Denis and myself and a Sprite for Mr Mmari when Uganda scored their first goal.  To be fair, it was a cracker, and Denis’ reaction was to leap into the air with a woop of delight.  What he didn’t notice was that in jumping up, the plastic chair had shot over backwards, so that when he then came to sit down, he ended on the floor.  Thankfully he was ok but his feet had shot up under the table and it was a battle as to whether we should save him or rescue the bottles that were rapidly draining into the earth.

Five minutes later and the inevitable happened; the power failed.  As the same had happened the previous evening, but thankfully for a short time, everybody just sat in the dark with a few mobile phones casting light around.  As hoped the power was only off for about five minutes and then we resumed our ‘enjoyment’ of the game.  As it happened Tanzania were never really in the game and my companion had leapt to his feet, punching the air, two more times before, once again, there was a power cut.  The difference was that this wasn’t at Boza but at Kampala, and thankfully again was short, so the referee and players waited on the pitch as the floodlights slowly came back on. As time came for the final few minutes the bar slowly emptied as the home fans realised that the miracle was not going to happen and we went back to the YM so that Denis could have a drink closer to home and relive the success of the evening.

The final is on Saturday preceded by the 3rd and 4th play-off so, as I will be at the hotel in Dar, I might slip downstairs to watch the local derby.


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