Sunday, May 12, 2013

Superstition is just part of the game

It’s strange how a sports-filled weekend is every sports editor and sub editor’s worst nightmare. The newsroom is one cauldron of a pressure cooker with very tight deadlines.
The working hours are often long, odd and irregular. Naturally, things usually get thick and misty on those crazy weekends, like the past one, when you have the final IRB Sevens leg, Manchester United’s coronation and of course the Mashemeji derby all competing for space on the sports pages. It’s not a place for the fainthearted.
So I when at the end of a back breaking day, someone in the newsroom, in total exasperation exclaimed, “This is the most thankless job in the world!” I empathized but at the same time could not suppress my laughter.
It’s on the account of the same that I missed out on my place on the stands as AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia performed the latest rendition of their age long ‘friendly war’.
In anticipation of a long hard day in the office, I made a deliberate effort to make up for the missed opportunity to watch the derby at the stadium by attending Saturday’s top of the table clash between Sofapaka and KCB at the City Stadium.

Without taking anything away from the two teams, by all standards it was an entertaining match but an unworthy substitute for the AFC-Gor showdown.
On the stands, I found myself in the company of a renowned sports presenter with a leading TV station and naturally our chit chat drifted away from action on the pitch to the much anticipated Mashemeji derby.
My affable companion went about regaling me with tales of his encounter with two teams earlier on in the day during the final training sessions at separate locations in the city.
His first stop was Nyayo Stadium where the K’Ogalo camp welcomed him with open arms. Coach Zdravko Loguruisc even had enough time for an exclusive interview!
But it was a different scenario at the Marist Centre in Karen where Leopards were going through their final paces. The players and the technical bench fell short of declaring my journalist friend ‘persona non grata’.
Apparently, a decree has been issued (by hell knows who in Ingwe’s technical bench) that the team should avoid any form of ‘contamination’ ahead of the match.
No prizes for guessing the beleaguered scribe’s ethnic background. Nothing to worry though, it’s all in the spirit of the game. Superstition is an integral part of Kenya’s biggest football league match.

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