The day Man United killed my dreams of owning a plot in Runda

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I was seated with a long list of matches, 13 to be precise. All of which I had blatantly placed my bets on, the only money I had, Sh100 borrowed from my aunt whom I lied to that I needed to get to town for an interview. Yes, those constant interviews that yield nothing but shame to job seekers.

My friends in the mtaa (locality) and I had over the night deliberated on what matches we would actually bet on. But I needed more money, so much so that I could not just stake Sh100 on four matches.

In my mind, was a Lamborghini, an apartment in Runda and a masters degree in human psychology.  In short I badly needed money; suffice it to say that I have been betting in the last five years with nothing substantive in return.  But it has become my job, part of my daily life and over the weekends, we take it overboard.

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There I was, clutching on my pencil, a smartphone, notebook and the life ahead of me. La Liga, check! Bundesliga, check! Premier League, check!  13 matches in my usual long bet slips containing wins, losses and draws. Over 2.5, under and draw no bets. Our usual madness, the slang that not everyone would understand.

My friend Tabu comes along to inquire if I had Man Unite vs Newcastle in my bet, I said yes.  “Umeweka aje hiyo ya Man U? (What’s your bet on Newcastle vs Man United),” he asked again.  Then I told him I have given Newcastle United vs Manchester United under 1.5 goals.

“Come on man! Give the great Manchester United a straight win,”  he told me, confidently. Then the devil in me poped up and I changed my bet for Man United into direct win.  The I clicked submit, he did as well.

“Possible win bro?” Tabu asked.  I told him it’s Sh10million! He seemed jealously excited at my reply. Then he confirmed to me that  his bet slip read Sh7million.

Those of you who have tried this addictive game know too well that hustlers don’t give a damn to small money. In fact, we are ever rich. We got so many plans with our bets that even traveling for a vacation in Dubai has never been a problem. The real hindrance has always been, that we seldom win these bets and we continue to be poor and it’s that abject poverty that keeps us going.

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So back to the real story, towards the end of that Sunday evening, 16 out of 17 bets had gone through. By that time, almost everyone in my hood had sensed the excitement on my face. Because I was three-quarter way into Canaan. My own promised land!

The only team standing between me and 20 million shillings were Manchester United, the great. I sat down to watch the match, cheering every kick and calling those players like our rudimentary radio commentators. It looked the most winnable match, Tabu was alongside me as we sang glory glory Man United! (We are not Man United supporters, we only cheered them for our money).

Remember he had asked me to bet on a direct win for The Red Devils. But by half-time, it all looked bleak, all my problems looked doubled. I had began asking the ‘what if’ questions. However, we held on in the hall until the second half began. It was do or die for Tabu and I. Could my dreams fade off just like that?

Then on the 65th minute Mat Ritchie happened! From there, it was quite obvious that we had taken this joke too far and that players don’t know the pain we go through. I swore never to bet again but more importantly, never to borrow money for a stake. It finished 1-0 and we lived to fight another day! “I won’t stop until I win something big,” said a depressed Tabu as we went home.

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