Balloon Kenya AllStars
Upon arriving in Nakuru, one Balloon Kenya fellow (Dan Garlick) contacted the local football team (Nakuru AllStars, a second division Kenyan team), to enquire if we could watch them train or play a game. To his surprise, we were invited down to Nakuru Athletics Club to play the AllStar’s coach and some of his friends in a 7 a side game. Of course we jumped at the opportunity and eight of us, equipped with counterfeit Kenya football jerseys, seven pairs of running shoes and only one pair of actual football boots, made our way to the athletics club.
Dan, who’d met the coach a week before, arrived first wearing a new Nakuru AllStar’s jersey (something we later discovered only the starting team for Nakuru AllStars had, not any of their academy) that was gifted to him by the coach. We all soon followed and as we warmed up, Nakuru AllStars U21’s trained to our side, effortlessly floating the ball to one another. Fifteen minutes passed before the coach approached us to explain his friends couldn’t make it, but he had another game for us if we wished. Not wanting to miss the chance to play a game we accepted before seeing a huge smile spread across his face as he informed us we’d be playing the Nakuru AllStars U21’s instead. That’s the beginning of the story of how we lost to the U21’s 18-0, at least that was probably the thought going through most of our heads! Slightly apprehensive, yet relishing the chance to play a second division Kenyan team, we borrowed a few players to take our numbers from eight to eleven and finalised our preparations for the one hour game.
So, out wandered our makeshift team, looking utterly astounded but somehow oozing passion too. We quickly went 1-0 down and we thought the floodgates were about to open. However, we gained some composure and played through, Balloon Coordinator Nik slotted home our equaliser. Soon after we scored again to make it 2-1 and some of us were quite happy to call it a day. The game roared on and with fifteen minutes left to play Nakuru AllStars equalised, dampening our spirits. The game lost much of its momentum as the Nakuru AllStars probed for the winning goal but eventually ended at 2-2. Still in disbelief that we hadn’t lost 18-0, we shared a prayer after the game led by the opposition’s captain and arranged a rematch for next Wednesday. So you may wish to check back next week where you’ll most likely see a new post chronicling Balloon Kenya’s 18-0 grudge match loss to Nakuru AllStars U21’s!
Written by Luke Mallard, 2013 Fellow