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Game 33: Mai Moria Market, Moshi, Tanzania

“Anarchy ! There are no rules! “ This was the assessment of today’s game by Mads Sørensen, a Danish chap who I’d invited along for the ride today.

In the blazing early afternoon sun, we made our way to Mai Moria Market on the slopes of the magnificent Mount Kilimanjaro. The Market was rammed with stalls selling second hand, charity donated clothes and shoes. We weaved our way through the narrow passage ways, the air filled with the musical sound of the women traders encouraging us to buy from them.

Eventually reaching the edge of the market, we were surprised to find a footy pitch. I invited 4 friends chatting nearby to play. They alerted a few mates and news spread like wildfire throughout the market. It’s no exaggeration that within 2 minutes over 20 blokes we’re on the pitch ready to play.

I plonked my jumpers down and away we went. 10 v 10 and the pace was frenetic! Most of the lads had 2 left feet and kept doing air-shots and falling over. It was hilarious ! Everyone was chatting and laughing all the way through .

Mads was right. It was anarchy. Corners were goalkicks, blatant penalties were ignored and there was handballing all over the pitch. Despite most of the lads not knowing the rules, they were have a brilliant time just chasing after the ball . Crackers ! I spoke to Gilbert Justin on the side-liners. He was the conductor on the bus which brought these lads to work on different markets 6 day’s a week. It was his job to wake them all up in the early morning and make sure they got on the bus to work their 6.30am -9.00pm days.

Mads by now was rolling in the dust. He’d decided to go in the nets for one of the teams and was performing heroics in the chaos. His team ran out 2-0 winners in the end somehow . The lads would have played all day but we had to go. Again, despite their hard lives, these chaps had maintained their dignity and were such respectful, polite and well mannered folk.

When we posed for a team photo at the end , Donald Wilbad, who had earlier helped me to get a good price for water for the boys at half time, gave a great speech about one love and unity, which just about summed up the at atmosphere around today’s game . Marvellously nuts !

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