Soccer in Kilgoris

On our way into town one day we were lucky enough to bump into John, an American on the board of an organization called The Kilgoris Project, which has set up multiple schools here in the area.

He was in town just for the week to attend their annual track meet/soccer tournament. So on Saturday we found ourselves heading out to one of the Kilgoris Project schools to participate in what was sure to be a fun day. Turns out we were in for a little more than we bargained for.

The majority of us ended up running in at least one race that day, but only one of us finished in any respectable standing: Amy came in second in one of the women’s 100m heats. I ended up trying to run the 800m,  an event in which a Kenyan currently holds the world record. Let’s just say I can see why. Still, it was pure fun.

After the races I played in one of the exhibition soccer matches not part of the tournament. I was on a team of adults, including John and a few of the other tournament organizers, playing against a team of 18-20 year olds. Surprisingly, we held our own very well, and about halfway through the half we scored the first goal. I was playing defender on the back line and was barely able to stop a few of their advances. Then, at the very end of the game, I made the fatal mistake: a handball in our own box. The field wasn’t exactly in the best of playing conditions, and the ball just bounced off of one of the bigger mounds of dirt straight into my arm. The other team got a penalty kick which, despite John’s best efforts as goalie, they scored. The end whistle blew just a couple of minutes later and we ended the game in a 1-1tie. Despite my critical penalty, we were all smiles coming off the field.

Paula (left) and Amy (right)

It was now time for us to go, and we thanked John sincerely for having us at what was certainly one of the highlights of our trip. Personally, I’m hoping to train a bit more throughout this coming year, and maybe the Americans can represent a bit more respectably at next year’s tournament. Who knows, maybe Vecna could even field a team.

Hassan Shahawy