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Football Match Rocks the Kashgar!

Written by Gershon Portnoi

The evening of May 5 will be one few Kashgar locals ever forget after a dramatic night of football in the heart of the old city.

The team shot
The teams at The Yumulakshahar

The football’s journey to Seoul continued at the Kashgar Coliseum, a gladiator-style pit arena where around 10 international travellers and many local children took part in an epic contest which would have graced the original Rome amphitheatre itself.

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We drum up support for a game at the livestock market and then play in a former lake.

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The match was played across an area no longer than around 25 metres meaning skills and close control had to be at their sharpest and the long ball game was dead and buried, despite several attempts to prove otherwise.

The captains vie for possession
The captains vie for possession

The pitch, which had the traditional concrete slabs for goalposts, was dusty and the corners full of rubble and bricks which occasionally came into play during moments of frustration.

click here to download the MPEG movie clip of Maayan’s goal

The scoring came thick and fast with at least 18 goals shared between the teams in the first half alone and the team captained by the 10-year-old in the Manchester United shirt went into the interval chomping slices of watermelon, knowing they were two goals in front.

Luke tends to the halftime melon
Luke tends to the halftime melon

Despite trailing by three goals at one stage in the second period, the team captained by the 10-year-old in the Bayern Munich shirt ended the match triumphantly when a long-range effort from Kendal Lad Tim proved to be the last of at least three “next-goal win” situations.

The winning strike at The Yumulakshahar
The winning strike at The Yumulakshahar

The strike sparked joyous scenes among the players and hundreds of spectators who lined their way around the arena as this sleepy part of town was rudely awakened by an impromptu festival of football.

The game clearly meant a great deal to all those who took part and watched. It was a glowing advertisement for the international game and will certainly whet the appetite for the forthcoming World Cup.

The captains
Munich walks away with the victory

But forget about teams captained by kids in Man U and Munich shirts battling for supremacy. On this night, football was the winner.

Written by on Monday, May 6th, 2002

10 comments on this post

  1. The Boy Noble May 6, 2002 at 12:34 pm

    Ah, the match – beautifully encapsulated, a feast of football none will forget, surely to enter Kasgar folklore – “they brought football, and with them hope”

    Long may it continue.

    (Cheers for the good write up)

  2. Sounds fantastic – got any pics?

    BTW, commiserations for the blues on Saturday Phil, but you had no answer for the Freddie Factor!

  3. Good to see some of those cliches getting a run out just before the squad is announced. United beaten by the Germans. Where have I seen that recently ?

  4. Ben, Kashgar game beats any Arsenal victory by a mile and more! ….(I’m not bitter) … Fortunately, couldn’t even see the game out here… FA Cup invisible, found out on “live” updates on web!

    BTW, The Boy Noble and Kendal Lad Tim are one and the same, and he will be at this evening’s meeting where we hope to put the final touches to a 4 day, 2000km desert leg with a 5 a side team, details and pix to come after the meeting.

  5. Ben: now with pictures…

  6. The universal game once again unites all- great idea for a themed journey, wish you luck with it- glad my brother Gersh could lend his journalistic and footie skills to your expedition, and the Kashgar epic. Love to Gersh, hope you didn’t have to suffer his newly discovered Chinese drinking game. Good luck lads, will be nice if England get as far as you lot have so far, in the world cup; I also work in football, and yesterday met one of the Nigerian strikers, and as a precaution gave him a small wedge of cash as an insentive to shoot wide….we’ll see.

  7. Jeremy,

    Nice one on the Nigerian striker, I’ll be looking out for him… and try to get your money back if he scores. As for Gersh’s Chinese drinking game… I don’t remember any of it, but I won’t forget the drink. He bought a bottle, yet again blinded by the Chinese characters, for Kendal Lad Tim’s Birthday in the desert… it turned out to be the same wicked stuff he must have told you about. Once bitten, twice foolish, er… isn’t it? Still sand dunes for goalposts, I’ll name that dune in one er… your brother’s great, mate…. we were very, very drunk.

  8. do you know where to find chinese football shirts?

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  10. Fraser, did you post this, or are you employing some Russian students to post comment spam to our blog? Did you not perhaps notice your logo at the foot of the page? You do happen to be one of our *sponsors* after all! Sigh – whatever next?

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