Watoto Writers

Every summer in Canada, the Tanzanian community here in Ontario meets each other on the soccer pitch for a friendly game of football. The teams are based on the popular Tanzanian teams Simba S.Cand Yanga S.C. These matches are held to bring the Tanzanian community together as one to watch, play, and enjoy the one game all true Africans enjoy. Well, at least the winning team enjoys!

Yanga S.C is short for Young Africans and Simba means Lion in Swahili, one of Tanzania’s main languages. I think whoever made the teams for the matches took the Yanga name a bit too literally though. When I watched the last match, I saw the Simba team struggling against the notably younger Yanga squad. I just find it heartbreaking (and extremely funny) when I see my father on Simba trip over himself when trying to chase down the speedy, athletic, younger Yanga strikers. I really do care for my father’s health and chasing all the younger Yanga players is definitely not going to make his back problems go away any faster. I am not saying that the person who formed these teams is at any real fault, but I believe that maybe all the participants in the games should work together to make a more fair and equal teams that have both OLD AND YOUNGER PLAYERS!

Speaking of participants, I really believe that if you are going to play the games, you need to arrive on time! In many of the previous meetings, the matches have started up to an hour late. Those who plan the games try to choose a different pitch in different areas every summer. If one year, the games are held in your area, and the next year it is held an hour away, why shouldn’t you go? Unless you have other important business to take care of, don’t you think it would be enjoyable to spend an afternoon with your Tanzanian brothers and sisters? I mean, think about the person who had to drive one, or maybe two hours to the pitch every year since these football games started!

And my Tanzanian uncles, even if your back hurts or for some reason you are tired, if you have a jersey, try playing a couple of minutes of the game. It is better than just sitting there, and I bet once you’re on the pitch, you will forget all about your excuse to sit out. I have an uncle who lives nearby. This uncle of mine loves inviting people to his house for numerous gatherings and each gathering gets better and better. You will see uncles drinking tea, juice, water, and alcohol, (*cough* Heinekin*cough* Corona*cough*) aunties cooking, gossiping, and too drinking tea, watotos running, playing, and laughing, and everyone just having a good time.

This same uncle organized the last football match. There weren’t as much Tanzanians as expected. Not a lot of uncles drinking, aunties gossiping, but I guess there were a few watotos just enjoying themselves as much they could with the small numbers they had. This makes me think that us Tanzanians expect only to stay indoors when this uncle of mine throws a gathering!

Really guys! I saw an Tanzanian uncle who played the last game coming out of a knee or something to do with a leg surgery, and he was limping like a wounded lion that had been in a fight with a buffalo, hobbling around the pitch to support his fellow Simbas the best he could! You know the saying “No pain, no gain”? If you are able to survive whatever little pain you have to play with your fellow brothers and sisters, you will be able to gain a lot of respect from the little watotos if you are able to say score that winning goal, save that game deciding goal, or perform a surprisingly deadly and sick a slide tackle!

Now, the Yanga team might be very young in comparison to Simba, but Simba’s fans truly are lions. The watotos fans of the Simba team cheer and chant so loud that they could scare the mighty lion itself with their loud roars of encouragement! I think one of the only reasons my older uncles who play for Simba are able to play the long, “painful” games is because of their noisy cheers! The last game, I remember the watotos cheering SOOOOLOUD for Simba that none of the Yanga watotos could even be heard!

The Simba and Yanga games are truly pleasant events to look forward to every year. I have been to a lot of them and I know they are always going to be highlights of my summer for years to come. I hope you watotos and uncles and aunties will share all the fun you had at the games with your friends and co-workers. And for you uncles, you might not enjoy the games as much now as you would have when you were kids because “Oh, I have a headache!” or “Oh, I am too tired!” But just know that in a couple of years, you will not have to worry because I know all the watotos just cannot wait to take your places! Keep persevering and enduring the endless running, kicking, and (I am looking at you, daddy!) falling! No pain, no gain.


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