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What’s all the fascination with soccer?

Lady Speak By Rose Nganga

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World cup has begun. I must admit I learnt yesterday that five African countries are taking part in the monumental event and I’m glad they are, my best wishes to them. I know this is ignorance at its best but we all have things that don’t rock our boats. Soccer happens to be one of those to me.

Thanks to colleagues in office, I also know that I might have to put up with some soccer vibe for a month or so (sigh!). The fascination with this game is, however, startling.

Soccer is a universally loved game, the passion a man in Timbuktu has for whichever team he supports is the same a man in Turkana has for his team. This fanaticism got me digging and I came across interesting facts. Apparently the origin of soccer is thought to have been the Romans who played a game named ‘harpastum’, which can be said to be the ancestor of the modern game of soccer. In the early days of the game, referees used to wave a handkerchief to control the players and the game, and whistles were introduced in the game only in the year 1878.

Its origins can also be traced to China, more than 2,200 years ago. This was around the time of the Han Dynasty, around 200 BC. Some versions even talk about a ball that was first used which was the head of a Dutch brigand. It is also believed that in medieval times, kicking, punching, biting, and gouging was allowed during the game. So why is soccer referred to as the beautiful game?

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