Game 19: Szekely Land 5.0 Matabeleland (Conifa World Football Cup) 02.06.18
After reading about an alternative World Cup that was taking place in London, I decided to take in games at a couple of grounds I hadn’t visited before. The Conifa World Football Cup is played every two years and features teams that represent countries, minorities, linguistic minorities or remote territories that aren’t affiliated with FIFA. This year’s event was taking place in London so I headed to Haringey Borough’s Coles Park Stadium for the early kick off between Szekely Land and Matabeleland.
Szekely Land represent an ethnic Hungarian minority in Romania and brought a loud vocal set of supporters with drums, flares and a megaphone. They had won their first game against Tuvalu 4.0 Matabeleland represent three provinces of Zimbabwe and used crowd funding online and in the stadium to meet the costs of travel and accommodation. They lost their first ever Conifa match 6.1 against one of the tournament favourites, Padania. Their supporters congregated in the main stand with dancing and songs helping to create a fantastic atmosphere.
The key moment in the first half happened after 23 minutes when the Matabeleland keeper rushed out of his area and brought down a Szekely Land player who was through on goal. This rash challenge meant a red card and a replacement keeper came on. The free kick came to nothing but shortly afterwards Szekely Land scored from a penalty when the new keeper brought one of their players down in the box. A sea of red, white and green smoke came from the celebrations on the terrace. Ten minutes later and it was 2.0 with a shot going in direct from a free kick. Shortly afterwards a breakaway saw a Szekely Land player unselfishly pass to a team mate who made it 3.0.
Matabeleland had a couple of half chances during the first forty-five minutes but lacked a killer touch in the box. They thought they had scored early in the second half but the attempt was disallowed. Moments later Szekely Land added a fourth goal with a well placed chip over the keeper. Both teams played some good football on a hot afternoon and Szekely Land wrapped up the win with a run and tap in past the keeper just before the end.