Football-starved Argentines have found a way to play their beloved sport while physical distancing – though the rules have been altered.
Dubbed “metegol humano” or “human foosball”, the game designed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic involves dividing the field with white chalk into 12 rectangles and restricting each player to a defined space.
The ball can be passed across rectangles, and players can dribble inside their areas. The modified game emphasises passing and shooting over running and fancy footwork. And of course, there are no rough tackles.
Members of the Vende Humo FC and Los Mismos de Siempre amateur teams tried the new form of the game at the Play Futbol 5 complex in the city of Pergamino, about 240km (149 miles) from the capital, Buenos Aires.
Players concentrated on not stepping over the lines as they dribbled and defended. Leaving one’s rectangle incurs a penalty.
Professional football in the Latin American nation is suspended, and players cannot train. For amateurs who usually rent fields for games, it was like breathing again.
“Now I feel free and happy, getting together again with friends and playing football,” said Martin Rodriguez, a defender from Vende Humo FC.
“If it were up to me, I would do this from Monday to Monday.”