"If you missed the ball, don’t miss the leg/man/bone” is a soccer adage popular in West African countries such as Ghana and Nigeria. The saying means that if you strike your leg out for the soccer ball and miss it, at least strike the leg of the opposing player and bring him down. This is a very rough style of play and the term has also been used as a business and political metaphor for winning at all costs.
“If you miss the ball, don’t miss the leg” has been cited in print since at least 1963 and is used in the United States mostly by African immigrants.
Tales Out of School
By Nkem Nwankwo
London: Ginn & Co.
The advice the spectators gave to their friends on the field was: “If you miss the ball, don’t miss the leg.” The players took this advice. Whenever they couldn’t get hold of the ball they sought for the legs of the Abule players.
Petals of Blood
By Ngũgĩ wa Thiongʼo
New York, NY: Dutton
Joe, Joe, shake them, shake them: if you miss the ball, don’t miss the leg. That was his best moment. His footwork would then be perfect.
Once Upon a Village
By Augustus Adebayo
Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Books (Nigeria)
His advice to pupils playing was: ‘if you miss the ball, don’t miss the man’. He kept shouting this from the edge of the field. If the ball came your way and your foot missed it, you were to chase the boy with the ball and give him a vicious kick from behind. You ensured that your kick swept his two feet off the ground. This sent him sprawling on the ground. At the sight of this, the headmaster would clap and applaud the pupil.
Up and On!:
A Nigerian teacher’s odyssey
By A Babs Fafunwa
Lagos, Nigeria: West African Book Publishers
Our football slogan in those days was “If you miss the ball, don’t miss the leg” .
Nigeria: This is my country, damn it!:
A selection of the author’s columns in Sunday Punch newspaper
By Tunde Fagbenle
Yaba, Lagos: Alfa Communications
But, if they discovered you were better than them, were quick at hacking you down - if you miss the ball don’t miss the leg - or, as we called it, jambody.
Genna in Ghana!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
If you miss the ball DON’T miss the bone
We also watched the kids play an intense soccer game. I commented on how brutal the kids were with eachother and Richard told me that they play by the rule “if you miss the ball DON’T miss the bone”. That pretty much sums up why I’m not too keen on playing!
Nigerian Elites Forum
15th April 2010
If you missed the ball,don’t miss the leg;Nigerian custom of beating opponent
So many times when we were growing up,we heard “If you missed the ball ,Don’t miss the leg”.
This is one of the reason Nigerian football don’t grow,Instead of “If you missed the ball,try again” ,you are advised to go for the leg.Little wonder the custom of beating up fans when they win, away from home,the loosing home team gives them ,the beating of their life.
New York City • Sports/Games • (0) Comments • Monday, December 12, 2011 • Permalink