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A long ball across Africa

It’s time to leave West Africa. Goodbye, it’s been fun. Thousands of miles are behind us, hundreds of games of football have been played and The Ball is covered in signatures. From 40 degree plus scorching heat in Kayes to the sweat-fest of the Atlantic coast, from police escorts to police road blocks, from fresh fish and rice to barbequed cow on street corners, from Isle de Gore to Cape Coast, from the Voodoo Pope to the Gospel church, from Hearts of Oak Accra to Search and Groom Nigeria, massive train rides, DHL cargo flights… ahhhh West Africa has been a blast.

For The Ball, this trip is a let downFor The Ball, this trip is a let down

As I proceed through customs, they stamp and sign The Ball but tell me that the The Ball needs to be deflated for the flight to Ethiopia and the onward connection to Nairobi, Kenya. I am told it would be a safety risk otherwise. The flat Ball is stored in a net on my backpack. It is the same net that was used to carry The Ball to the World Cup in 2002. Back then, the net and The Ball 2002 were permanently attached to Phil’s backpack.

The Ethiopian Under 17 National TeamThe Ethiopian Under 17 National Team

At the airport in Addis Ababa I just happen to bump into the Ethiopian Under 17 National Team. I invite them to kick and sign The Ball which they are more than happy to do. Then we are off to Kenya. East Africa is beckoning and I am excited to be joined by another player. Christian is back on The Ball. The last time we saw each other was in Casablanca.

Of all The Balls in all the world this one will bounce back into his path sooner or later.

Written by on Friday, May 14th, 2010

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The Ball 2018 left England on 25th March 2018 and travelled to the World Cup in Russia.

The Ball 2014 kicked off from England on 9th Jan 2014 and headed to the World Cup in Brazil.

The Ball 2010 left England on 24th Jan 2010 headed to the Opening Ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Ball 2006 travelled from London to the Opening Ceremony in Munich, Germany.

The Ball 2002 was carried 7000 miles across Europe and Asia to the World Cup finals in Korea & Japan.