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Fire on the Barracks

(The essay below was first published in FEELINGS, which was “a collection of writings by Evan X Hyde (Alif Ansar Mujahid) during the years 1972 to 1975.”) 

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1972

MCC GROUNDS
It was the biggest game of the football season so far, and everybody who was somebody came streaming in, glad rags was everywhere. Good sun was shining, and just a light breeze, nothing to talk about.

Toyota Cruisers versus Spurs, and the winners would be favourites to win the Belize City title. The famous Garrincha was in town, and Toyota Cruisers’ manager, Birdie Ratch Craig, was in glee. Garrincha is actually from Stann Creek and plays ball with Queen’s Park Rangers, but when Toyota Cruisers have a big game they bring him up to play some of the best inside left and left wing anybody has seen.

Spurs were depending on Congolon and his long passes to Mundo Myvett and Goldburn Gordon, and the fitness and discipline of their team.      In the first game this afternoon, Berger Lakers upset a weakened Diamond A squad, 3-2. Diamond A, who were figured to be strong in the running, have been damaged by the loss of right wing Michael Hyde (cracked rib), stopper Ramon Alvarez and flyer Solomon Usher (who are playing in Orange Walk). To make matters worse, this afternoon left back Gas had to be carried off the field with a torn right knee.

When the whistle blew for Toyota-Spurs, Toyota soon established control of the game, moving the ball in a professional manner. But center forward Hashy Ferguson seemed overeager, and committed two quick fouls. Congolon was in the back for Spurs, and strangely enough, Spurs had put Malcolm on the right wing, which is not his position, for he is a midfield general. After fifteen minutes into the game, Hashy moved a ball in from the left side, cutting into the center under pressure. When the ball rolled free inside left, Christobal Mayen coming from nowhere smoking, and Spurs’ goalkeeper, Roy Lord, diving to his left desperately was late. Toyota, 1-0.

Soon after, Hashy and Spurs’ stopper Kello were put off the field by Referee Mossiah after a misunderstanding.

Toyota on the attack again — Garrincha, Christobal, Aqui Esta, Scalp, Toad, Rungu, Johnny Pegga, Ching, Lanzey, and now Christobal in play again in the middle, beats goalkeeper Lord, but his neatly placed shot comes out off the post, and Spurs fans sigh.

On the right wing, Malcolm is all the while having a rough time trying to beat the Toad. And now Spurs’ back Cattouse, under much pressure from Garrincha, fouls the ball with his hand and Lanzey smokes a low bullet for the goal to Lord’s left. As goalkeeper Lord makes his move for the ball, it deflects off somebody we could not see, and Lord is beaten. Toyota, 2-0, and still the first half and Toyota still on the attack. Congolon has to kick a ball out of the goal one spell. The first half ends 2-0, and the fans applaud, for they have seen football at its best.

Birdie Ratch now walks across the field in glory with his football slung across his shoulder. Can Spurs get back? The crowd is buzzing.

Second half, and Congolon immediately shoots a ball from midfield, Toyota keeper McKenzie leaps, but the ball bounces off the cross piece, and now Gordon shoots and McKenzie knocks it out, and Spurs have lost their best chance.

They stay on the attack for some ten minutes, but Mundo cannot beat Rungu, and as the half continues Toyota regains command of the game, even though Johnny Pegga suffers a serious knee injury and has to be carried off.

To make matters worse for Spurs, this year’s Joe North chose this time to start blowing cold dust across the field from north to south, and Toyota are shooting in the south goal. It is right wing Ching who finishes off Spurs. Intercepting a weak Spurs’ goal kick, he drives straight for the goal and smokes a shot six inches inside the post and foot off the ground. Toyota, 3-0. And that’s the way it ended. It could easily have been six, but for some desperate Spur defence.

It was a beautifully played game.

All power to the people.

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