A Spanish derby in the Gambia to bring joy and water to villages
Real Oviedo and Sporting Gijón faced each other for the first time in a decade, 4,000km from home. Out of the dressing room they came, Sporting in red and white, Oviedo in blue, crowd clapping and cheering, music blaring, TV camera rolling. They stood together for photos alongside the referee and linesmen, then turned and headed along the line, shaking hands one by one, before it all began – the biggest game they had played in. The only one quite like this.
Among the players representing the two historic teams from Asturias, northern Spain, where the rivalry is fierce, there was no sign of Traoré or Toché, Berjón or Burgui, Meré or Michu, and this is not the 30,000-capacity Estadio Carlos Tartiere or the Molinón, where Spain’s national team played three days earlier; this is the village of Ndungu Kebbeh, in the rural north of the Gambia. The team in blue are at home; the visitors, in Sporting’s colours, arrived from Kuntaya, a village not far away along the dry, bumpy “road”.