Having celebrated Leicester City’s win against Aston Villa on Saturday I thought it was time to take Gil to his first home game in his new home, Mwanza the day after. The occasion, Toto Africa versus Ruvu Stars. So we drove to the Kirumba Stadium and paid our Tzs 5000 admittance to drive pithchside !! Duly took our place on the concrete bench seats and waited for the game to start. Given that it was a 4pm kick off and it was 4.20 and no-one was on the pitch we clearly hadn’t missed anything, or it had kicked off early and it was half-time. Hang on, we’re in Tanzania so it was obviously starting late. Literally as we sat down the teams came out, lined up, shook hands and took their positions. The first half was a fairly turgid affair with no goals, the away manager being sent off and being made to sit in their team coach and 4 bookings for the away team!
The second half kicked off with Toto Africa looking a bit sharper. 15 minutes in and they were awarded a penalty for the goalie clattering into the centre forward. Ten minutes later, after both goalie and forward receiving ‘treatment’ the spot kick was rifled down the middle. One nil. However that was not the end of it. As the two teams lined up to re-start, the offending goalie, who had been booked, ran to the centre line to start remonstrating with the referee. After ten minutes of ridiculous protestations the two teams lined up again only for the goalie again to run to the half way line and this time to start arguing with the fourth official. This time he was joined by the rest of the away bench who started pushing and shoving the fourth official. The sub who hadn’t come on long before decided to try a drop kick, the military police who usually are stationed on the other side of the pitch drove round in their land cruiser, restored peace, the sub was sent off and they lined up again! At this point I’d said to Gil I thought the away team were trying to get the match abandoned. So we moved closer to our car and stood to see what was going to happen. Once again the goalie, who amazingly was still on the pitch, ran to the ref again and again the rest of the bench surrounded the fourth official and goalie. This time however, the fourth official and ref had clearly had enough and were worried so ran to the stands with the opposition team in hot pursuit. They in turn were followed by some of the home team and a lot of the home fans. At this point the police drove round again, took their guns out and fired two rounds of tear gas above the crowd. ‘We’re off,’ I said to Gil, and that was the end of Gil’s first African football match. Footballing wise it was fairly boring, entertainment wise it was quite an introduction for Gil to African football.