I deservedly got stick in the change room during the post-game debrief yesterday after my antics on the field. I have to concede that I wasn’t the prime example of how to contain emotion and adrenaline in a scrappy game of which I was probably the epicentre of the chaos. My post-match apologies to the ladies watching and to the ladies in the change room didn’t seem to have an effect on anyone and I was mocked like the town jester in shackles in the town square. Given that each and every one of the lads are such good sports when they are often the object of my dark sense of humour, it goes without saying that when the lads gave it back to me with equivalent scorn, I had to smile and wave…but let’s get to the report
As has become the norm, YMO, our opposition for the day, were loitering in the car park half an hour before kick-off with a full team, a few substitutes and some aficionados to boot, whilst I was frantically recounting all 5 of my squad hoping in so doing, I would get to the right number. I stood wondering if I would ever have all 11 (even without substitutes) on the field, all warmed up and chomping at the bit 15 minutes before kick-off ….the thought seemed like a fantasy from a distant country which televises its fixtures internationally and I suddenly understood why our games are never televised. I digress. In the same carpark, their distinguished goalkeeper coolly informed me that they had beaten Chelsea. In the cup. 4-1. At Chelsea L.A. On Astroturf ! If I wasn’t rattled yet, I was then, given we had lost 3-1 to Chelsea on same turf a few weeks back. I set out pensively looking for more of our players.
The YMO are a nice bunch of lads…. usually, but sadly the familiar lads were set to pasture on the side-line whilst the thugs took to the field. In particular was a large right wing with a frame that looked like it was hung out on a clothes hanger to be shaped and a head as square as Frankenstein’s, only as he was brought up on the Cape Flats, was bald and dark-skinned. There were no visible marks of major implants into his skull either that I could see. Throw in a large pair of Schwarzenegger-like dark glasses and you have your man, for the record hereinafter to be referred to as Arnie (Schwarzenneger). On the opposite side of their attack was a lad they called “John”; but we called some other name which I cannot repeat on a family match report. He was shorter, more skilful but obviously used to playing rugby league or some other physical game, certainly not soccer. Ironically, he kept on telling me we couldn’t play soccer to which I continually responded by referred him to the scoreboard for another opinion.
It was probably not 15 minutes into the game when our trio up front of Ronald Koeman, Krusty and Mighty mouse were causing a hindrance to their backline. Incidentally, Warren was told to play lone striker to which he promptly responded by spending the afternoon on the wing – Managerial lesson 101 – don’t play a lad out of his position. Unsurprisingly a ball crossed across to Mighty Mouse saw him speed into the box, short pins moving at an imperceptible pace, culminating in him slotting the ball across the butler-like goalie into the far corner of the net. One-Nil and I was wondering who they had fielded in their 4-1 win over Chelsea. A few minutes later, I found myself out on the left with a perfect through-ball from Krusty and into the box with a one-on-one with the goalie. I took it past the tall gent wondering if I should submit my apology for doing so, to his right and tapped it into the goals… only it wasn’t hard enough and it stopped ON THE LINE… The goalie got back and mis-kicked the ball causing it to roll further on the line and was only cleared when their centre back came and cleared the ball into touch. I was gutted.
It was about that time when things went pear-shaped. Arnie got stuck into me, hacking me from the back which I initially brushed aside as a late tackle. However, he then he got stuck into Capt Jack (aka Wayne, Pirate of Afrikaburn) by jumping onto his foot. Now for those who know Capt. Jack, he is the most polite, quiet and courteous fellow this side of the Kalahari. Up to that point, Capt Jack had been slightly disengaged and enjoying a friendly game out. However, Mr Hyde came of the Dr Jekyll and Capt Jack became a ferocious left back, attacking the ball and player alike and defending like a Trojan. Long grey locks flying in the wind, he refused to smile at anything and gave better than he got. Meantime, the YMO centre forward Dick John, collected the ball just outside the big box and managed to get a shot at goals which Kurt stopped but dropped in front of him. The big lad bravely went down and fell onto the ball at precisely the same moment Arnie chased up and decided to put his laces into the ball, and possibly Kurt’s ribs at the same time. It was unbelievable that in an Over 45 game, someone would swing his foot through the ball when the goalie is on it, but he did. For me, it was the third time and one time too many. Anything but calm, I stuck three fingers in poor Shepherd’s face (referee for the day) unbashfully recommending a card, of any colour, even black if it was available, else the lad to go off and get coitus. Courageously Shepherd wouldn’t budge, gave a free kick and Kurt, to my surprise, eventually rose, as from the dead, and took it. I suspect it was this incident that tipped me over the edge because after that I didn’t see the game in the same light as before. In my mind, we were playing Game of Thrones and I wasn’t going to lose.
Second half came and the same aggression continued. We were awarded a free-kick some 10 metres outside the big box with Ronald Koeman lining himself up behind the ball. I went into the wall and had some argy-bargy with some grumpy fellow who had a lazy eye. I personally thought it was a little unfair because I never knew if he was looking at me or a player beside me and was tempted to ask him to look my way on both accounts if he was going to play “who-has-the-biggest-chest”. Ronald however, took a short run up and in Bale*-like fashion, drove the ball into the top corner past the butler’s outstretched palms (*Replace with Ronaldo if you are Portuguese). Two-Nil and I felt a little better. Meanwhile, on the other side, YMO broke through on goals and shot at goals with venom. Kurt, narrowing the angle and covering his near post lunged with a grunt to his left landing both hands on the ball and pushing it behind for a corner. A short while later another free-kick to us and another YMO lady had a problem with me, asking me why I play like I do when I am an old man. In my mind it was like Zuma calling Gengus Khan a cheat, philanderer and generally immoral, so I suggested he have intercourse with himself. In retrospect, it was possibly not the forum to discuss those issues in front of the ladies and I accept my inaccurate assessment of the circumstances. Nevertheless, he decided to show me his chest hairs and I responded accordingly by showing him mine. At this point, a most peculiar thing happened. Krusty told me to settle down. Completely out of character and remarkably mature of the lad, so much so that it stunned me into reality and I took a step back. At that time, I insisted we put more pressure on YMO and Mighty Mouse took it to heart. He rushed the keeper on a back pass and blocked a clearance with the ball going back towards the YMO goal. It went into the goal but (apparently) didn’t cross the line and rolled out the other side. Those sitting on the sidelines were convinced it had crossed the line but with our goal line technology being on the blink for the day, we had to accept that it wasn’t in.
Our two goal lead was short-lived and YMO came back and attacked. Dick John broke through the back line and into the box. Kurt came lurching out to meet him colliding with him in the big box but blocking the course of the ball. The ball ricocheted off Kurt and fell at the feet of some fortunate YMO midfielder who thought it was Christmas (or Eid as the case may be) in July and promptly shot at goals deflecting off Satchmo’s outstretched foot and ended up in the net. Capt Jack gave way to Dave for the last 20 and we clamped down the hatches… parked the bus… (read Chelsea). I swopped with Stevie retreating to right back to keep Dick John under control and Stevie lurked into the midfield with intent to do grievous bodily hard to anyone who got in the way. I’m not sure how it happened but he got entangled with a YMO lad and the two of them ended up on a pile on the ground. By this time Shepherd had changed from a soccer referee to an EFC umpire separating the two from slapping some handbags at each other. Stevie’s wrist was cut open but he didn’t have time to worry about it and pursued his man through the middle of the pitch. After a clearance, Ronald Koeman passed the ball to me and in protection mode, I shielded the ball only for Dick John to come through the back of me forcing me to stop my fall with my face. I reacted with anything but calm and suggested he was tantamount to a male sexual organ. It was all going south. Another clearance saw Ronald collect the ball, slot it through a channel for Stevie to run onto it towards goals. Stevie broke into the space, ran into the box and returned the pass to Ronald who, using the outside of his foot curled the ball round the butler into the back of the net. The whole of the YMO team screamed in protest like EFF supporters in Parliament shouting foul and offside and unfair or pay back the money, I really couldn’t care less at that stage. It was a great goal and a great assist from the one-time rugby lock.
Last 10 minutes saw the bus double up with anything went, from out the box kicking, to heading to clearing to the sidelines. The resurgent Spike ( who incidentally wanted to talk to me in the change rooms after the game), was defending like a pack of dogs on his own. Fiesty, running the field flat, the holding midfield role suited the lad and Stuart, who enjoyed a tremendous return to the field, played his socks off for the day. In fact, it is unfair to even name players lest one be left out, as there was not one player on that field who didn’t give their all. A team game played by a team, as a team.
Although Ronald got the man-of-the-match, all the ladies deserved the award. Great resolve, great courage and determination won on the day. I personally apologised on the field to the ladies in attendance and in the change room to the other ladies for my less-than-acceptable language and behaviour. Dereck would’ve been extremely disappointed at my display I know.
The lads from YMO stayed and devoured the Snoek like Packman consume discs in the final round of the game. Those who were left in awe of the astonishing feasting, were kicked out anyway in lieu of a teeny-bopper party and retreated to the Kelder for an after party. Satchmo was delighted as he kept on insisting his wife may busy even though it didn’t seem like it and we heard about your favourite locksmith who gave Kurt his house keys and hoped to find his car to take him home… which same car was at home. Lizé is finally out of crutches driving again which means that Krusty can focus on soccer again and score goals and Clive insisted everything happens in 10 seconds. Crazy day, crazy evening…
Second last league game is against Edgemead away at Edgemead on Friday night at 19h00.