Ever been so bored sitting in a matatu (public transport) that you start wishing you just stayed in the office or had a bike you could ride home or even take the risky plunge and ride a nduthi (motorbike) home? Well, that was my sentiment on Thursday. I could have walked, but my shoes, well my shoes aren’t very friendly to route 11.
As everyone was busy worrying whether they will make it home or to their preferred pub on time for the first world cup 2018 game, I was more concerned when I’d get home and catch up on a few smartphone reviews on YouTube.
I fall under that one percent group of guys who don’t care about football, like zero interest. I have never understood what the fuss is about fully grown men kicking and chasing after a piece of stitched up cowhide, that gets people going. Anyway, in the midst of my boredom, I happened to look over the shoulder of my neighbour and see what was so interesting on his phone that he had his head down all through – no, I am not those people who do this every time, just once in a while when you can’t help it, we’ve all done it, so don’t cast the first stone.
Now back to my peeping, you guessed it, he was watching football, RUS vs RSA, that’s what the match board read (you know, that thing on the top left that shows the scores), I, later on, came to learn that RUS is Russia and RSA is the Republic of Saudi Arabia.
With no further interest, I leaned back and as I was about to open the YouTube app I remembered I had no mobile data and I loathe buying mobile data, with WiFi both at home and in the office, I never see the need to spend extra on mobile data, but fate had other plans.
Traffic was barely moving. Mind you, I was stuck on Argwings Kodhek Road, a few minutes after 6PM. I had to get to town, wade through the crowded streets of Sonko-land (
btw, is he still running the capital from Machakos?) and get to the Ambassador, from where I would board my second matatu home.
After a short personal debate, I decided to give football a chance in my life – why not partake in this worldwide event and feel alive like everyone else. Tap! Tap! Tap! I bought Safaricom’s GigaFootball bundle, installed iflix app and right there on the homepage was a banner leading to the ongoing game.
After a few minutes of watching, I was already getting excited by the game. I found myself vouching for the guys in Red (who I found out were the Russians), maybe it’s because I started watching as they scored their first goal and everybody loves the winning team, except Arsenal fans. Miserable lot. A few kicks here and there and we were already on half-time.
Traffic check! We were past Kenyatta Avenue roundabout, such a relief but now I was feeling stressed that I would be missing the action as I criss-cross the CBD. Stride. Bigger stride. Practically running. I was in my second matatu. Seated, earphones on and back to the game, right on time before the boys start kicking.
To cut the long story short, I watched the entire match from my phone, through traffic and I enjoyed every bit of it, especially that fourth goal by player number 6 and the final goal by player number 17 on the Russian side. Wow! Now I get why this cowhide chase is so important.
The most amazing part of that whole experience is how things have changed over the years. Not long ago, football was only enjoyed in bars, with a drink or two and nyama choma on the side – I honestly don’t understand why one cannot watch a match alone. Right now, thanks to the advancement of technology and the growth of on-demand streaming apps, people can enjoy football right from their smartphones.
Of course, I am not saying that your smartphone will replace your 60-inch TV at home bar or at your favourite chill spot, but with most of the world cup matches being during rush hour, including the final game (I know this because Google), having a way to enjoy the world’s most famous game right from your phone, is pretty reliable and affordable, may I say. Safaricom’s GigaFootball bundles start from as low as Kes.50 daily, to enjoy the world cup games on either Kwese, StarTimes or DStv.