It was the finals of our Village Inter-ward Football
Tournament. I was one of the spectators witnessing
the royal battle played between my ward which had
huffed and puffed their way to the finals against
the formidable three times champion ward which had
Mykel, our village super star in their team.
The referee blew the whistle and the match started!
My ward being the underdogs, obviously were pushed
on the back foot right from the start. The opponents
dominated the game, their think-tank Mykel being at
the helm of affairs but thank God, somehow we
managed to keep the ball from entering our net. Our
goalkeeper too was at his best. Scoreboard at
In the second half, the opponents just pounced on
us. They were all over our territory snatching the
ball away from our possession. A goal against us
looked imminent any moment.
Then a 'blessing-in-disguise' disaster struck our
team. One of our players got injured and had to be
taken off the field. To rub salt to injury, the
substitute players had a row with our captain and
refused to play. With no other alternative, our
captain desperately looked out for someone from our
ward to replace the injured player. (There were no
strict rules for fielding. Anyone from his
respective ward could play.)
Time was running out...The ref was blowing to get on
with the game...Just then, the poor captain spotted
me. He ordered me to get on to the field at once...I
was virtually dragged... Never before had I kicked a
football with booted feet...In fact, a complete
ignorant about the game.
I stepped into a pair of football shoes hurriedly
arranged by someone which were much bigger than my
actual size. I entered the field touching the ground
and making the customary sign of the cross.
For nearly 15 minutes the ball eluded me. I was just
a mere passerby on the ground simply running like a
fool. I was expecting the ball to come and hit me
atleast, but it never came. Then, I thought the best
thing was to run where the ball was and so I waited
for a chance.
There was a scuffle of players in the opponent's
area just after the center circle and I found the
ball rolling idly towards me. Without wasting a
second I dashed forward and kicked the ball as hard
as I could in the direction of the opponent's goal
falling down flat in the process. I was sure the
ball would not even pass between the flag posts
leave alone the goal frame.
But to everybody's surprise, the ball zoomed off
curling into the far corner of the opponent's net.
Next second I realized we had scored a goal with my
shot, which in football language is called a 'Banana
Our team went into euphoria. I was hugged and
kissed. I had no idea when the match got over cause
the rest of the game I was just perplexed by my
goal. I was mystified as to how the ball could swing
so much and crash inside the goal. I had actually
expected the ball to hit the coconut trees nearby.
We won the final by that lone goal. Everyone poured
praises and congratulated me. I was on cloud nine.
Some of the old folks said they had not seen a
better goal scored since the Portuguese times. Till
today, some say it was even more exceptional than
the overrated Roberto Carlos' free-kick against
France in the 1997 Tornoi de France... :)
Everybody wanted to know the secret behind the shot
but I just smiled, as I myself was stunned and
amazed. I was sorry for Mykel who had come to
congratulate me. He too wanted to know the secret.
Just then the player who had lent me the boots came
to collect them.
As I bent down to untie the laces, everybody around
saw the mystery behind the curving shot off my feet
- I had the right shoe worn to the left foot and
left shoe to the right!..
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