Soccer … and soccer

Avid soccer fans sometimes puzzle over football being the craze it is over the U.S., especially in the South, unlike in much of the rest of the world where soccer’s front and center.

Young soccer players all too often find themselves without adequate fields for practice and play. That lack affects an increasing number because, unlike football, girls can play soccer and both they and boys can start play quite early.

And that pondering brings to mind a wry twist in the world of soccer:

The team of Bahrain, an islandnation in the Persian Gulf, had a big game coming up and sought an exhibition game to help prepare. Togo, a small west African country, was noted for its strong team; thus Bahrain scheduled it for opposition. But Togo turned out to be not so strong and gave the opposition a disappointing, easy victory.

Small wonder. The bona fide team was off playing elsewhere, and substitutes had been sent to face Bahrain.

Surprise. So much for sportsmanship or whatever.