Wave your flag and reminisce about those Tuesday nights: How to survive without football

by Daniel Roodt

It has been 110 days since a football was last kicked in one of Europe’s top 5 leagues. Unfortunately for football lovers, now that there is time to watch football, there is no football to watch.

We can all admit that it feels like a part of us is missing when there is no live football on. Those weekend afternoons just don’t feel the same anymore.

Staying up late on a Tuesday or Wednesday night, now means watching Netflix or scrolling through social media, rather than watching the Champions League.

Fear not, because even though there is no longer live football on, it doesn’t mean you have to live without football.

There are multiple ways to survive without football. The first thing you need to do is set the tone. There are numerous football-related songs for every mood.

If you’re wanting something upbeat, then give Lorch by Kabza De Small and DJ Maporhisa or Three Lions by Baddiel, Skinner & The Lightning Seeds a listen.

If you fancy a trip down memory lane, then Waka Waka by Shakira and Wavin’ Flag by K’naan are your songs.

Wavin’ Flag via SportBible

[Caption: Wavin’ Flag by Somali Canadian artist K’naan was voted as the greatest World Cup song of all time in a poll by SportBible in 2018.]

Or, if you want something more profound, then whack on the UEFA Champions League theme song and prepare for some goosebumps while you reminisce about those Tuesday nights.

While you won’t be going outside during lockdown (unless it’s for food or medication), there is still no reason not to look good.

Because everyone is missing football, now is the perfect time to pull out your old football kits.

Football jerseys have recently started to become fashion items, especially vintage shirts or ones with unique patterns.

If you’re worried about wearing another club's kit (@Drake), then you can always go for an international team. They’re the perfect way to look good in a football shirt without worrying about club loyalties.

Drake from GQ via @champagnepapi

[Caption: Celebrities such as Drake have embraced the fashion surrounding football shirts. The rapper has been pictured wearing shirts of multiple clubs throughout the years, seemingly concerned more with the aesthetics than team loyalty.]

There have been some classic international football kits over the years, such as West Germany’s elegant 1990 strip or, more recently, Nigeria’s bright green 2018 World Cup kit.

The Nigerian home kit for the 2018 World Cup took the world by storm. According to the Nigerian Football Federation, three million people pre-ordered replica shirts.

Nigerian football via TheseFootballTimes

[Caption: The Nigerian Football home shirt for the 2018 World Cup sold out in minutes globally and it is still a challenge to get your hands on an official replica of the shirt.

Football kits are the perfect way to get into the spirit of a game or to remember your club’s past victories.]

The key though to wearing football kits is to keep it simple. It is meant to be the central part of your outfit, so your pants should be plain and your shoes low-key.

As Jake Woolf writes for GQ, “We love a high-low mix, but a soccer jersey with a pair of pressed pants and loafers is just weird.”

Now that you are in the zone, it’s time for the main act. Thankfully in this digital age, we have access to many old games all over the internet.

FIFA TV is presenting #WorldCupAtHome on their YouTube channel, where they are showing countless classic World Cup Games.

These include classic encounters such as the 1986 World Cup final contested by Argentina and West Germany, starring the likes of Diego Maradona and Lothar Matthäus. They also have more recent clashes such as the epic round of 16 match between France and Argentina at the 2018 World Cup.

YouTube and DStv are also full of classic football highlights, including memorable Champions League finals and Premier League matches.

If you’re not keen on watching classic encounters for whatever reason but still want your football fix, worry not, because there are countless other ways to fulfil your needs.

There are tonnes of football documentaries around. FIFA TV has several World Cup documentaries on their YouTube channel. DStv are also showing some documentaries on DStv catchup.

If one documentary doesn’t cut it for you and you are looking for a bit of drama and thrills along the way, then Sunderland ‘Til I Die is the way to go.

This two-season Netflix original series provides unprecedented access into daily life at a professional football club. It follows the trials and tribulations of Sunderland AFC’s dramatic slide down the English football pyramid.

Currently, there are two seasons of the series, and it is definitely worth a watch if you are interested in the finer workings of a football club.

However, if you are struggling with connectivity issues, there are numerous other ways to entertain yourself while fulfilling your craving for football.

Now that there is a gap in the season, it is a perfect time to reflect on the preceding fixtures. A fun way to do this is to create a team of the season containing the best players from the season so far. This can be done with any league you are watching and will provide a great way to analyse the season gone by.

If you are looking for something slightly more challenging, then you can limit yourself to only three players from a particular club. This could be rather tricky for the Premier League due to Liverpool’s stellar form this season.

If this is all a bit simple for you and you want something tough, then this is the answer. The challenge is to create a World XI using players that have played in your lifetime. The catch is that no two players can be from the same country or have played for the same club.

For example, you cannot include Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo in the team because they have both played for Juventus.

While none of these can replace watching the real thing, they are certainly ways to make up for the lack of football. Remember to never complain again when Burnley are playing Brighton on a Sunday afternoon.

Hopefully, the wait won’t be too long until live football returns. The German Bundesliga is expected to resume (behind closed doors) sometime in early May (although DStv doesn’t show Bundesliga matches).

Until then, the only option is to make do with the alternatives and be extra grateful to have live football when it finally returns.

And remember to “Play inside, play for the world.”

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