The Legend of Kambare

Photo Courtesy/Arsenal website screengrab

I love football. The only things I have ever loved more than football are my family, strong WiFi (because I get to watch football clips on YouTube), kuku choma and kuku deep fried. I live by Sergio Busquet’s mantra- football is better than sex. Go argue with your community husband. I watch football a lot. Australian football, US football, pre-world war II football, women’s football. If it’s football, I’ll watch it. I am also a better goalkeeper than all of Arsenal’s goalkeepers combined since Lehmann left the Emirates.

I grew up in Ambira High School. Before Jera High School and Barding turned into football clubs, it was the home of football in Siaya County. That means I grew up enjoying good football every single day of my life. It is also where I learnt to sing weird songs like Apondi Situnya, mh Apondi, Gima Nyocha Imiya, mh Apondi, Gino Omako tienda, mh Apondi, Kik ichak imeda, mh Apondi. Translation: Don’t want to be a woman-eater, but you can be a community husband.

Then we moved to Rang’ala. Dad had been posted to Rang’ala Boys. my grandfather had been a principal there some time back. His son was going to be a deputy to one legendary man by the name Omondi Were, father to one badass writer Ian Duncan and future badass lawyer ‘Adol’. Omondi Were was so badass that one night he single-handedly stopped a students’ riot. He is the only man I have ever seen my father look up to, besides my grandfather. His legend is a story for another day though.

Rang’ala Boys’ was a dull place for a football lover like me. Sportswise, they were a bunch of talentless, ambitionless kangaroos. They engaged in extracurricular activities because it gave them a chance to meet girls. Girls who didn’t want them in the first place. They always lost girls to Ambira, and Ukwala High School. You know you are shit if you lose girls to a school that burns down its toilets during a riot.

However, in the midst of all that trash, there existed a gem. And that is where the legend of Kambare begins.

Kambare was a midfielder, judging by his starting position and not by his role in the team, for Rang’ala Boys. At times, he seemed like a defender. Some times, a striker. Most of the times, a winger. Whatever position he used to play back then, he was Rang’ala’s most valuable player. And he knew that, so he didn’t take shit from anybody.

He was hairy, and very scary. He looked more like an angry Diego Costa, and less like a high school student. Whenever we turned up at their training to be amazed by his football skills, and homo sapien stature, he would turn to us and growl “DON’T READ ME!” And we would run some distance, before coming back to be scared some more. Kindly note that Kambare’s footballing talent was quite simple; hit the ball forwards, chase it, hit it some more, chase it, repeat until you were some distance from the opposing goalkeeper then unleash a bombshell. Believe me, dude had speed! People got out of his way. That is how he easily became the school’s top scorer.

The team believed in Kambare as much as he believed in himself. The team was built around him. His tactics were quite effective. Stand in front of an attacking player and knock him off to stop an attack, run forward like a headless chicken and have everybody moving out of his way during his team’s attack. Pass the ball to Kambare, always. That was the unwritten rule. And it was quite effective against CDF schools. Until they met football academies like Ambira that passed the ball around. Then he looked like Lwanda Magere after his second wife leaked his secret to his enemies. Purposeless and helpless with everyone looking to you as the source of their strength.

That is the story of Lucas Torreira, the Uruguayan Kambare. Only that he is a little bit cleaner and likeable. Never again should he be compared to field marshall Ogolla Kante, he who covers 30% of the earth. The other 70% is covered with water.

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