Name Calling In Kenyan Pubs, All For The Love Of Football-And No one Complains!!

Posted on May 28, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

If you still watch live football at home, it is too late to save you because you have missed parallel and unmatched entertainment that accompanies watching football in a sports bar all season. The stadiums moved to the bars long ago.
In the early 1980s and 1990s local football was the in-thing in Kenya. You could not give a respectable analysis at Jeevanjee Garden of a team or player if you had not been to the stadium. The rivalry then between Gor Mahia (K’ogalo) and AFC Leopards (Ingwe) would make the Arsenal vs. Man United’s rivalry a joke.

Now for the unschooled, a sports bar is not somewhere you turn up in tracksuit and with your gym bag ready to participate in some sport. No! It merely means that the bar welcomes you to watch live sports on TV regardless of your physique. They could even afford you an extra high stool to let you rest your potbelly if it is too pronounced. Sports take precedence, so don’t go to a sports bar and scream for Papa Shirandula or Inspekta Mwala! In a decent sports bar you don’t need those local rib cracking satires. Fans of opposing teams provide the drama. It is like a parallel competition alongside the football contest.

The mchongoano is at its best pitting rival fans. “Kaa chini mlishindwa kufunga Derby bao sita,” starts an Arsenal fan(atic) teasing a Man United mate.

“Bure nyinyi Arsenal haitashinda ligi hata next season. Mko under vision 2030 ministry!” the angry Man-U guy retaliates. Sorry, did I point out all this is shouted loud and clear across the entire bar?

This is soon followed by a round of applause by those in support.

“Kwani Drogba hana kitanda kwa nyumba? Mbona anashinda amelala kwa pitch?” taunts another Man United hardliner.

“Check his hair, he is the African Queen,” a respectable man who actually could be a CEO somewhere in town adds for good measure. Drogba has this curly kit hairstyle that even the mbochs( house helps) have since steered clear of.

Another one shouts, “Shika huyo mrembo!” Clearly his hairstyle attracts lots of attention for all the wrong reasons.

An unlucky chap who is clueless about football got a rude shock the other day when his would be lovely Sunday lunch with his date coincided with an important football match at a sports pub. The lady was enjoying the friendly banter among other patrons but the young man was quite jittery, probably because he was losing out on ‘airtime’ he had hoped to utilise whispering sweet nothings to her.

Just in case the upcoming match pits two of the big four clubs, then shouting and counter shouting is the order of the hour. Tempers of course rise since the bar tends to be packed, what with the whole of the city hell bent on squeezing into a single hall.

“Songa kando kwani

you think tumekuja kuona kisogo yako?” a fellow who happens to partially block another bloke is harassed. Never mind that they are watching a giant screen.

“Leo ni leo msema kesho ni Nguata Francis.” Now if you have been around long enough, you will obviously remember the genesis of weather forecast reporting in this country. It surely has come a long way. Nguata was the KBC weatherman

“Kuna haja gani ya sexy stuff if it’s not taking you to the next level?” shouts a Chelsea supporter donning a Michael Ballack jersey. ‘Next level’ here could have several meanings and I leave you with the liberty to indulge your imagination. This is because the man who shouts that has this very mischievous look as he pats a female companion by his side on the back.

By pure coincidence Chelsea’s Michael Ballack has been shining for his team just like some guy of Kenyan descent in the US presidential nominations going by almost the same name. This has led to the Chelsea player being christened ‘Ballack Obama’.

I don’t know why Arsenal always bears the brunt of most jokes. Probably it is out of envy so even though it has the largest following in the region, it is always on the receiving end.

The other day I was watching football at Alehouse Sports pub hoping that I had escaped the madness of the CBD. “Arsenal mko down kama slippers. Mnashindwa kufunga Birmingham?” bellows a burly man who can hardly fit on the bar’s high stools.

This leaves me with a bitter taste in the mouth. I contemplate answering back to save face in front of my girlfriend but remembering that my gang is yet to arrive, I opt to hold on to the rejoinders, at least until my brawny pal Jemo arrives. Jemo is a tough man. If he works out in a room that is cemented he sweats so much that, were you to wipe the floor, the liquid could fill up a three-litre jerrican!

I usually tug him along. He has constantly assured me that I could chokoza anyone I dislike in a pub and then I give him the receipts. This basically means “pick up a fight with anyone, I will settle it pronto!” I have often put his offer to test and each time he has kept the faith.

The other day we were watching Man United play a lowly team that goes by the name Blackburn. As you would expect there is nothing positive about a team that has ‘Black’ in its name. Don’t even get started on the ‘burn’. The team was leading United by a solitary goal and Man United fans kept shouting “Kura za Nithi na Juja bado hazijahesabiwa!” If you were in this country when the Electoral Commission of Kenya announced the presidential vote from those constituencies, then you know what happened by way of turning tables. You cannot imagine the gloating that we had to endure after Man United equalised in the dying seconds. Jemo had to exercise tremendous self-restraint by clutching his Fanta Bamboocha with both hands. Or you thought he drinks beer? No, he is a renowned teetotaller.

When Arsenal lost out on the title race, the Gunners adversaries kept on reminding the Gooners — in a very unkind manner — about the fateful season. “Watu wa Arsenal mna fanya nini kwa bar? Si mwende kwa nyumba ndio msave pesa mukingoja next season!” boasts my pal Kip.”Sisi Man U tuko mbele kama kifungo ya shati. Mtaa do?”




He is United hardliner and takes every opportunity to chide anyone who does not sing hymnals to his beloved team.

“Mashabiki wa Arsenali siku hizi wamekimya kwa uwanja unaweza fikiri wako

Lang’ata cemetery,” he adds knowing too well he must throw barbs at the Gooners.

Woe unto you if you happen to don your favourite team’s jersey when your team plays the next day.”Sasa wewe umevaa hii leo, kesho utavaa nini? Ama unatuletea jasho?”




As for the Liverpool fans, they take pride in the team’s famous motto: You will never walk alone. But even this is under constant chiding by rival fans. “Sisi si watu wa Liverpool, we don’t walk alone, we drive in a convoy!”

Then if you didn’t know, there are shouting privileges in those bars. You don’t come out of nowhere and then start shouting yourself hoarse. Those who taut each other are people who are well known in the respective premises. If you are unknown the regulars will swiftly put you in your place. “Nyamaza! Nani amekupatia ruhusa ya koungea? Unafikiri hapa ni stage ya namba sita?” the newcomer will be shouted down. Some never get to ever talk again and the more fearful never return.

So the next time you think you are having a great time watching football in the house and denying your spouse the remote to watch her popular soaps, Desperate Housewives, The Bold and The Beautiful or Cuendo ces Mia, you are greatly mistaken. Lady Luck however seems to be on your side as the elite European Championship commences in a few weeks.

By Antony Ngare.

Butdoisay comment: And no one complains or fights about the name calling, its humour Stockholm ,its humour!!!!



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2 Responses to “Name Calling In Kenyan Pubs, All For The Love Of Football-And No one Complains!!”

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That’s the beauty of home,all these banter of ‘my team is better than your’s’, plus more helps you release stress and no one even takes it personal,meanwhile here in stockholm, keep people without a bash 4 six months and they are completely loosing it.
It’s funny though coz stockholm is full of bashes everyday of the week, methinx.
PS: Loved that joke about Arsenal being under vision 2030 ‘priceless’ hahahahaha.

Oh Clayyy… not all of us understand humour or have you sense of humour;)

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