For the love of the game

28 July 2020 | Sports

Johannes Kakelo

Many sport lovers felt left out when sporting activities were suspended due to the mandatory restrictions imposed after the coronavirus outbreak.

Due to this, sport enthusiasts at Gabriel Taapopi Secondary School came up with another way to enjoy their beloved sport, soccer.

Like street soccer, but with an added kick. “Okabase” has become a chant that echoes around the school as boys race towards the basketball court for a chance to be featured in a soccer game.

Mostly played on weekends, it has become the most loved recreational game for many learners, especially those in the hostel, a way to calm their nerves when school activities take their toll.

The word “okabase” translates to “soccer on a basketball court”.

How to play

Two parallel poles on either side of the court where the basketball hoops are mounted form the goals. Each team comprises of a maximum of four players. There is no goal keeper, the ball is defended without touching it.

The game follows basic soccer rules but with the absence of a referee. To prevent bruising from the interlocks of the court, players wear sneakers or any other type of suitable shoes, as soccer boots are uncomfortable against the hard concrete. The ball is slightly deflated to prevent bouncing on the court. Players take up position as either a striker, defender or midfielder, wherever he feels he knows best.

The team that scores the first two goals eliminates their competitor, allowing the team that was up next to take part. So, if a team keeps winning, they can continue playing against other teams. Only when beaten can they give another team a chance.

Best game

Many describe it as the best game of soccer. “It really gets me in the mood when I’m bit down,” said Festus Imalwa, a grade 12 learner at the school.

Another Okabase lover also is also in grade 12, Abraham Amadhila, said: “It gives me the energy to continue with the day”.

The game does not break the rules of the “new normal” either. Many players say that the secret to winning and playing many games lies in the talent of your teammates. This is therefore another great way for learners to enjoy their favourite sport.