So this week me and a couple of the other guys here went to see our first football match at the local ‘ Kirumba Stadium’. Toto African (the local side based here in Mwanza – in yellow) were playing one of the big teams in Tanzania, Simba SC (in red). Not that I ever experienced it, but it felt like going to watch football in the good old days…£2 to get in, sitting on a concrete step,no set seating plan. Turned out this match seemed to have everything.
Firstly, when we arrived there were massive long queues to get to what looked like the ticket office (at least a caravan with a few windows) so we didn’t think we’d get in in time for the match so we thought we’d try being a bit dodgy and buying some tickets off a tout which seemed to work and we got straight in then. Inside the stadium it was suprising to see how many fans of Simba were there. We were trying to work out if they had come all the way over from Dar es Salaam (a 14hr bus ride) just for this game or if they were just local fans. The fans of Simba seemed to outnumber the local fans by maybe 3 or 4 to 1!
To add to our experience, halfway through the first half there was a stadium invasion by fans who had either not got a ticket in time or couldn’t afford one and had found a way in. A good few hundred people came pouring through the game and started jumping into the stands to get away from the army who were quickly blocking the way in (in fairness their response was very speedy). However this did seem to put the Simba defense off and they conceeded a debatable penalty just after this. The second comical moment was when a police dog got free from its handler and managed to make its way onto the pitch. This seemed to make the players turn into 5 year old girls and they proceeded to run a mile if the dog came anywhere near them! Sadly, the dog was caught and the game continued. On personal note, I also had to stop myself from laughing each time some action happened as the guy who was sitting next to me used my knee/thigh to stand up, henceforth squeezing one of my pressure points! I managed to get through though and it only added to the experience!
So in the end, the game finished 3-3, Toto African unlucky having been ahead 3-2 but doing well to hold on after going down to 10 men (another fun point being the ref being so keen on booking people for time wasting, he even managed to book the Simba goalkeeper for time wasting when they were losing 2-1!) A great experience and will certainly go again when we can. Naomi will post more on her experiences as soon as she can, but for the moment hope you enjoy this! Few photos of the game and stadium courtesy of a friend who took their camera along.