Featured image credit: N. Sherman Jr.
In Liberia, Football is king, but a new sport called teqball has entered the competition. The sport is nine years old, and has already reached over 100 countries. Originating in Hungary, teqball combines a standard-sized football with a curved table separated by a net. People can think of it as table tennis meets football with no hands involved.
On May 5, the Liberia National Teqball Federation (LNTF) unveiled a wall mural on Carey and Lynch Street, in Monrovia. The wall represents a strategic branding effort to introduce more Liberians to the new competitive sport. Liberia is 1 of 33 African countries to welcome the fast and exciting game. Former national football player Musa Shannon presides over the LNTF and has been working diligently to introduce the sport across the country.
Since March, Shannon has distributed 24 teqball tables to several counties and registered two clubs with the International Teqball Federation: BYC and Freeport. However those are not the only teams present in Liberia. The LNTF recently published a Facebook post welcoming Nimba United to the teqball family too. These efforts are part of the push to make teqball a well-known competitive sport throughout every Liberian county.
LNTF is not trying to simply introduce the sport to Liberia. It’s attempting to develop the best teqers in the world. “We could have a Liberian at the next world championship,” Shannon said in a video interview. “But our most important goal will be to start the ball bouncing on the table in Liberia and then eventually be the best team in Africa. Have the best players in Africa, and then eventually have the best players in the world.”
How to play Teqball
Liberia currently has at least three teqball clubs, but players can compete as individuals. Individuals might not have the support of a club, but as more equipment enters Liberia they could have access to community equipment. The International Teqball Federation lists the rules as follows:
- Played with balls used in soccer, size five being official and recommended.
- Played with two players (single game) or four players (double game).
- The best of three sets wins.
- Each set is played until a player / team reaches 12 points.
- Each player / team has two attempts to complete a serve.
- Players / teams change service after every four points.
- Athletes cannot touch the ball with the same part of the body twice in a row.
- Players cannot return the ball with the same part of the body twice in a row.
- Each player / team is allowed to return the ball with a maximum of 3 hits from any part of the body except the hands and arms.
- In doubles, a team is allowed a maximum of 3 hits, but the teammates must pass the ball at least once.
- During the game, neither the table nor the opponent can be touched.
In 2028, teqball could be an Olympic sport, which gives Liberia plenty of time to master it. Hopefully Liberians will expand on their love for football and embrace the novel game.
“Teqball is by far the fastest growing sport in the world,” Shannon said “It is an electrifying, exciting sport and we’re glad to have teqball in Liberia.”