Just when you thought you’ve seen every piece of Pokémon merch out there, the franchise surprises again by revealing a special Eevee trading card based on futsal.

While we’ll never claim to have encyclopaedic knowledge of sport, futsal really did require some Googling. On the surface it appears to be similar to football / soccer albeit played indoors on hard courts.

This is especially strange when you look at the artwork of this promotional card, showing Eevee in a sports T-shirt on what looks to be a more traditional grass field and a Poké Ball-themed, well, ball.

If your interest is piqued and you’d like to own one of these cards, they are technically free if you live in the UK (or you’re willing to import) and shop at the retail chain GAME. This is not to be confused with many other stores and franchises, even those in South Africa, called “Game”.

To qualify for this promotion all you need to do is spend £15 or more on Pokémon trading card products in store or online.

“Boasting adorable futsal-themed artwork and moves, this promotional card featuring the Normal-type Pokémon is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the sport of futsal. Whether your TCG strategy is built on an explosive offense or solid defense, stop by your nearest GAME store to add Eevee to your team today,” reads the announcement of this promotion.

While we’re sure this will be a hit with collectors of oddity cards, it’s not at all usable in the competitive scene. The attacks are rather milquetoast and the name is a problem as it cannot evolve. The “on The Ball” text next to the Eevee name means that it’s not compatible with Pokémon who evolve from simply “Eevee”.

The last part in this weird puzzle is the fact that Pokémon X futsal is nothing new, we’re just learning of it now. It seems that in September 2019 a partnership between Pokémon and the National Futsal Programme kicked off.

This partnership appears to exist under a banner called “Master The Ball” that looks to use Pokémon as a way to get more people to play futsal.

Oh and it seems that Poké Ball ball is a real object, not just made for the card art, at least going off of this promotional image from the Master The Ball website.

Clinton has been a programmer, engineering student, project manager, asset controller and even a farrier. Now he handles the maker side of htxt.africa.