This might not be Fantasy Football, but you’ll want to choose your team wisely with these tips. By Viknesh Pillai
Who doesn’t love street soccer? The smaller pitch, the lesser number of players needed and the quick games make it the perfect stage for the weekend warrior to relive glories of their youth. Whatever your reason, chances are it is an intrinsic part of your life now and you really look forward to it. What a waste then if the experience was ruined. And make no mistake, there are some kinds of people who will ruin it for you. As you take potshots at the guy standing in goal, waiting for the game to start, pray that one of these five people will not be in your team that day.
“Ok boys, we will employ a diamond with inverted wingers and a false nine.”
When everyone is just looking forward to a kick about, the Tactician will be the one person who insists on playing with a fixed formation, scouting the opponents weaknesses and constantly yelling at you to track your runner. Sure, even in fun, you need some semblance of order; this isn’t primary school where twenty boys show off their best headless chicken impersonations and blindly run after the ball. But playing with him is the opposite of enjoyment. With his degree in management, obtained exclusively through hours of Championship Manager, and his religious application of it, he sucks the fun out of the game.
2. Star Striker
“Just pass it to me and I’ll score.”
Without a doubt, all teams need a finisher. Even if it’s a game, winning is important. So that someone who can make the most of half chances and find the target with unerring accuracy is vital. But the Star Striker is not quite that. He believes a little too much in his abilities and thusly shoots from anywhere and everywhere. Has he three defenders blocking his path to the goal? No problem. Is he on the wing far away from the goal? Again, no problem. Did he receive the ball just outside his own goal area? Still, no problem! He will keep on shooting, and shooting, and shooting. There is no situation too daunting nor miss too costly for him to ever consider useless concepts like possession or passing.
“Let me show you what Ronaldo did last night.”
If you would like to forget what it’s like for you or any of your other teammates to have the ball, you need to pass to the Dribbler. He knows one thing and one thing only: dribble. Whether he is capable of such fancy footwork is totally irrelevant to his reckoning. Every time he gets the ball, it is his invitation to mimic the skills of world class footballers. You know what will happen every time. A mazy run that attempts to go past the entire opposition team paired with feints, tricks, stepovers, turns, and even sprints. Not that it matters. Another player for whom the concept of passing is alien, his endeavours almost invariably come to the same disappointing conclusion of him getting dispossessed and leaving your team a man light to defend because he’s too tired from all that pointless running.
4. Shooting Star
“I’ll go all out for you.”
For all of five minutes that is. The Shooting Star has no appreciation of his fitness levels nor the need to pace himself. He will start the game on fire: running this way and that, first to every ball, closing down shots, chasing down opponents. For those glorious five minutes, he is the best player on either team. And then… nothing. He goes from 0 to 100 in those first five minutes and then falls back to, and stays at, zero for the rest of the game. With no more fuel in the tank, all the early bluster and fury is replaced by a permanent arms-on-hips posture, laboured breathing and a walking pace to make a snail envious. He might manfully try to run a bit but you know that you would much rather substitute him. Unfortunately, if you have no other players to take his place, the only further action on his part in this game is to dissolve into a congealed mass of sweat and broken dreams.
“Foul? What foul? That’s not a foul.”
The Bulldozer has has no sense of what constitutes fair and legal play. To him, every situation is a 50-50 challenge and the ball is always there to be won. He thinks nothing of using his body to obstruct, push or barge opponents because, you know, it’s all part of the game. In his defence, his actions are not usually rooted in malice but because he is gormless in a football sense. Often a loveable lump, he is naturally a source of mirth. But in being that source of fun, he is just as likely to leave an opponent lying in a crumpled heap on the floor in the process of ‘going for the ball’.
So now you know who to keep a lookout for the next time you’re getting ready to play. Sometimes though you can’t control who ends up on your team or these traits are not apparent until you start playing (especially when there are newcomers to the group). So in the event you get stuck with one of them, what can you do? You could apply the mantra of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’. But that would make you guilty of the same sins. You could try tell them to not do what they do. But you would get more success squeezing blood from a stone. Instead you could just try have fun in spite of all that and remember all the positive things about playing the game. Now go lace up your boots and give it all you got. Next goal wins!