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Game 48: Nayabasti Kuwatole, Nepal


It’s surprising what you learn when you’re sat in a taxi with a Buddhist Monk.

I was wondering around the bustling narrow streets of Thamel, Kathmandu, when I bumped into a Tibetan Monk named Aley Lama (43) and his young friend from Rajasthan Akash ( meaning sky ) aged 17. Aley, who lives at the Monastery at the Monkey Temple in town , teaches Akash to paint incredible manadalas at a local arts centre.( I visited there later and the work was astounding).

After chatting for a short time we jumped in a taxi to the outskirts of the city where Akash lives , close to the Boudhanath Stupa , a world heritage site sacred to Buddhists.

On the way there Monk Lama told me about the three poisons that we all must release from our minds if we are to live a happy life .These three poisons are represented by animals : the snake is anger/hatred , the pig is ignorance/ delusion , and the cock is desire/ attachment . I’ve been a bit of a pig, a snake and a cock at times in my life for sure 😂 Hopefully those 3 poisons have now left me for good ...😄

Arriving at the sandy pitch in the Nayabasti Kuwatole neighbourhood, I saw the brilliant sight of little Saroj sat on a football with his goalie gloves on, waiting alone on the empty ground for someone to turn up and play .

I plonked the jumpers down and Akash shot off to find people to play, but to no avail . We didn’t have to wait long though. Word quickly spread that a strange, drip white bloke from near Manchester was waiting on their turf to play footy ...with 5 minutes we had a cracking 5 v 5 going .

Little Saroj was unbelievable in our nets ..the smallest chap on the park , diving at feet , crashing into 50-50’s with the bigger boys and putting his absolute heart and soul into keeping the ball out of his net . Despite this we were quickly 5-0 down (would have been 10 without that tiny lion in the pegs )

The main reason we were getting battered was a young chap named Buddha. He was wearing a Hazard Chelsea top and was playing just like him ! Incredible twists and turns, close control , vision and light years ahead of anyone else on the pitch . I think he scored 4 out of the first 5 for his team.

At 5-0 we swapped ends and our fight back began . Slide tackling maniac Sabin was having none of it . When he wasn’t on the deck he was bursting forward , scoring 2 quick goals to get us back in it . I passed in a third before Buddha struck again.

Try as we might the creative and skilful Hirajan and the strong Ngawang couldn’t claw back the deficit for us and we went down fighting 10-6 . Fantastic game.

The two man of the match awards had to go to Saroj and Buddha. The outstanding achievement award has to go to the Nepalese people for their deep sense of humanity and inherent kindness .

The Monk said it was Karma that we met today. Certainly felt that way .


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