Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thursday Update

Below is a well written description by Josh of our day on Thursday. The pictures above were taken by Charlie at the Mamelodi Sundowns training ground. We are hoping to post another video tomorrow afternoon of the camp and possibly some game action if possible. Thanks for looking,

A combination of a minor stomach sickness and sleep deprivation made the majority of my day a portrait of delirium from my 5:30 wake up call, flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg, bus ride to the hotel, and lunch at the Sandton Mall. A turkey and ham club sandwich from the Deli Sandwich Café and a little window-shopping woke me up for the ride to Mamelodi Sundown FC’s practice facility for our game against the Premier League team’s first team bench players. Professional athletes, some, famous South African National Team players, ex-European Premier Leaguers, and others, just regulars on the largest and wealthiest South African domestic league team. We, umm, were expecting a lesson more than competition.

We arrived at the complex’s fluorescent yellow borders and hot green gates, gazing at our opponent’s chromed-out BMWs and Mercedes, in which the scenery welcomed us to a perfectly short-cut green pitch with twenty-two muscular, tall, and intimidating blue, yellow, and green shirts preparing for our match. Our first team warmed up quickly, and passed around the club’s official and very expensive Nike soccer balls. No feeling other than amazement hypnotized our focus.

Before the whistle blew, a striker for the opposite team, an ex-Tottenham Hotspur and South African International, asked if we wanted to get the ball first. Somebody on F&M responded no, and in an intimidating, but yet humorous retort, their striker said, “this may be the only chance for you to get the ball.” Both sidelines broke out into hysterics, now knowing that we were to expect a definite comedic beating. Their foot skills were prime and smooth; their organization epitomized clinical Brazilian-like movement, in comparison to our adapted defensive game plan; and their individual skills illustrated the true art of soccer. The first half ended 3-0. Then, Matt Melino had a troubling long distance shot on goal in the second half, against a new set of Mamelodi reserves, who were younger, less organized, but still exemplary of professional physique. The game ended 4-0. Both teams shook hands, we were content with appreciating the experience, and they were content with having a light run-through scrimmage.

The team showered in the Mamelodi club locker rooms and changed for dinner at the Argentinean Association of South African, in which Adrian Heredia’s mother is the President. She cooked a traditional Argentinean meal; carne asada, pollo, chorizo, pastas, rice, grilled vegetables, bread rolls, and for dessert, flan, strawberry crème cake, and caramel cake. The entire Heredia family was present, and many pictures were taken. The day was a difficult one, especially with very few consistent hours of sleep. Safari tomorrow, leaving at 6:00 AM, and no game!!!

Oh and by the way, we are currently staying in Sandton, one of the wealthiest cities in South Africa, where celebrities, wealthy businessmen, and ex-parliament members live. This beautiful city outside of Johannesburg reminds me of a combination of Los Angeles and Miami (although there is no beach, just a plethora of Palm Trees, pretty people, and expensive cars). The best part, there is soccer on television here all day!



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home