Fred did not expect to be picked for the Hatari school team to play in the football match against the local league champions. He was on the reserve list, but when one of the teammates fell ill, he was chosen for the final match against their main rivals, Utawona. Before the game, the team manager, Mr Burua talked to them. “Remember,” he said “Utawona are much the stronger team, especially with one of our best forwards off sick.” The manager paused and looked at Fred. “You will all need to work together to make sure that our forward line is well supported.”
Fred smiled nervously, but inwardly he felt very worried. Although most of the team were very friendly, one of the players, Ndezi, a big powerful boy did not like Fred and would not kick the ball to him during the practice games. Both teams ran out onto the field to cheers from the spectators. The two team captains tossed a coin, the players took up their positions and the referee blew his whistle. The game started and the commentators began telling their listeners what was happening on the field. Play was evenly matched during the first half. The Utawona team was the first to score. A cross kick by one of their midfield player’s was headed into goal by their team captain. There was a roar of excitement from their supporters, but Fred’s team swiftly counter-attacked. The ball went out of play, and the other team took throw in. Fred jumped as high as he could, but failed to gain possession of the ball, and the other side kicked the ball forward; then the linesman awarded Fred’s team a free kick when one of the Utawona’s team was offside. The ball flew straight into the goal. It was now half time and score was even.
After the break, Fred’s team found that they were the defenders. They tried hard to beat off the attack on their goal by the Utawona team. Suddenly, Ndezi tripped up an opponent and the referee declared a foul. The fans were now very excited and whistled at the decision. The referee awarded a penalty kick, which the opposing team took within the penalty area. The Utawona striker kicked straight at the ball, but the Hatari goal keeper stopped it from going in preventing him from scoring. As the game continued, Fred began to feel more confident. Nothing had been added to the score and there was only five minutes left to play. The other side took a corner kick. Fred ran forward to receive the ball. He dodged a member of the opposing team and raced down the field. Just before he was tackled, he kicked the ball as hard as he could towards the goal and in it went. The fans roared with excitement, and waved their arms in the air. The referee blew his whistle. The game was over. Fred had the winning goal and the Utawona team were defeated 2-1.
When the cup was awarded, the Hatari coach congratulated the team on their win. The captain looked at Fred with a smile and said, “Thank You sir, we all worked hard during the match, but the honours must go to our newest team member, Banya Fred. He is the real hero of the match.”