Patana International School, Bangkok. May 31st~June 1st.
Just arrived back from the Bangkok Masters 7's Tournament with the Footy Japan team. It was a busy weekend playing in 35 C heat +, but very enjoyable!
The tournament had 18 teams from England, Germany, Holland, Japan, Thailand & many other Asian countries organised by the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand & sponsored by Tesco Lotus! (5 year)
The games were 20 minutes long played on beautiful three quarter size grass pitches with slightly reduced goals.
First day were prelimanary games (3), second day consisted of Plate & final groups in the two categories 35's & 40's group.
I ended up playing for two teams, Footy Japan & Gold cost Koalas, as there were two divisions over 35's & over 40's!
I played 10 games scored 7 goals + 3 assists & Sid played out of goal scoring 4 goals including 2 penalties & saved 5 penalties which helped us get to the semi final of the over 35's, we ended up drawing 2 -2 after coming back from 2 -0 down, but lost on penalties (Dave missed his) to the team that beat the Thai ex national team 1 -0 in the final, this team also beat the All star team 1-0 in the Quarters.
The All star team consisted of players like Ian Rush, Peter Reid, Viv Anderson, Paul Masefeild, All ex Premier League/International players, Kelham O"Hanlon (Ireland keeper) Andrew Bernal (Australia international/Ipswich/Reading) Darren Stewart (Aussie international)Darrell Duffy (Aston Villa/England under 16 & 17) Milan Blagojevic (Aussie international 31 caps/ Olympic team) Warren Spink (Aussie international 38 caps)
Footy Japan played the all star in our first game, very entertaining with Jun receiving a black eye from Viv Anderson, Peter Reid calling the shots for them...
The highlight for me was nut megging Ian Rush and being called a Jammy bustard by another player, we had a great first half but eventually went down 2-0.
But a great game to play anyway, Peter, Ian & Viv all looked fit & you could see the silky skills were still there......
Our team consisted of Sid, Dave, Nick, Sean, Jun, Lenny & Nicks friend Derek (from Japan) + Uli, Ben, Bobby, Antti & Mark (Recruited in Thailand)
we ended up plying rolling subs budding players together in their positions, which worked well for us!
What didn't help was that Footy Japan on the day were short of players, just Sid, Jun & me, as 3 of our team had not shown up?? so recruiting I went, found three more players plus Dave picked up one extra player (Uli) off the street the night before, Uli played well in goals made many saves to keep us in the hunt, apparently he had played 7 years ago as keeper or striker, but hadn't played since...
So 5 minutes to kick off to meet the All Star team we had arranged a make shift team & organised positions.
Then our other three lads turned up & I we rearranged the team line up to a buddy system, decided to play a defensive 2 3 1 system.
We ended up winning our 2nd game 3-2 coming from 2 nil down, one goal for Sid & I plus an assist for me, I finally got the free kicks down scoring a ripper to the top left hand corner. Sid's goal was also a cracker scored on the tightest of angles. Don't ever underestimate old looking men with white hair, as they can run & shoot like a 20 year old as we found out 2 -0 down in the first two minutes!
(We didn't know at the time but three goals gave us an extra point which put us through to the cup final rounds, not plate)
The third game was against a lively Thai team apparently ex nationals also, we decided to go for a draw to get us into the plate group, so we went for the draw and got it 0 -0, thinking we got the plate draw.
I had joined the Gold Cost Koalas in the over 45's group and played one game, but was told they were going for the draw as they also wanted to play in the plate final.There is hope for all you young guns out there, as they consisted of players 52 - 63 years old I was the youngest at 47......
We draw this game 0-0 and got to the plate.
Back at the Hotel again relaxing chatting to the All Stars, as everyone stayed in the same hotel, they were all down to earth blokes like you or me.....
The night life is certainly busy & very entertaining with great food etc..... but won't go there....he he... It was a late one for some though......
The next day up early had a very nice breakfast and off with Sid & Dave, Sid was also playing for another team Aussie Barbarians whom I happened to play first game up with the Koalas, apparently the Barbarians & the Koalas come from the same club in Brisbane.
The Koalas captain approached me to ask if I could play up front, as they had not scored many goals yesterday, so up front I went against Sid in goals, the Barbarians had a decent team (fitter) & controlled the game for the most part, it was only my 4 goals that separated the teams needless to say we won 4-1 sorry Sid.... must say they were good goals & Sid never stood a chance...he he
The Japan Footy teams first game was against a strong team which beat the eventual winner the day before however we had another bad start to the day as none of the players had shown up, off I went recruiting again & came back with three players ready to play, we started with the bare 7 & right on kick off the rest of the team arrived......taxi trouble I believe, we were 30 to 40 minutes from the hotel by motorway, if you take the back roads add on another hour and a half...
The game end in a draw 0-0 penalties went according to plan Sid saving the first penalty & up first for his shot on target. Sid again saved the next penalty and it was up to Dave to seal the victory, which he did with aplomb.
Next game for me & Sid was playing for the Koalas in the semi final, I should have scored two goals here but their keeper did well, must have had 15 shots on target but blocked well. We were down 1-0 and time was running out until we had a free kick about 40 yards out, Sid wanted it & we stood in front of their keeper, Sid hit a looping shot which floated over everyone including the bewildered keeper into the net 1-1
Penalties it was, might have just left it to Sid as he saved the first two shots & scored the first penalty which sewed it up for us! the final here we come!
Footy Japan then played the Semi final match against the eventual winners. Crossbar from Bangkok, were captained by ex-BFC Vagabonds player Maz, the scorer of the winning goal in the quater-final vs the allstar team! We played a good game and came back from another 2-0 down to draw 2-2, it's been a while but had one of those down the wing runs beating two defenders & pulling the ball back from the by line for Bobby (recruit) to whack it into the net, felt gooooooooood!
Penalties didn't go as good as last time with Sid almost stopping one & Dave missing his, I was number three penalty taker, but never got to me!
Well not bad for a make up team who never played together before!
The Final to the plate with the Koalas was entertaining, we went one nil up before half time with a thumping volley from outside the box by yours truly...
I had this 6 foot 5 built like a tank Singapore Indian centre back who kept grabbing my shirt & holding on to it, (I know Guido loves this) as the nice words asking him to stop didn't work I pushed him back, where he said "I will punch you" my reply was "go on mate" as we stood there eye balling each other, he smiled and walked away (maybe someone had told him that I was half Tongan ha ha) never saw him again in the second half....
The second half the Koala lads were looking tired and some of their legs had given up and the Singapore Chinese team had the legs on us, they levelled 1-1, after kick off I went on one of those yesterday dribbles into the box beat three defenders and set up our second goal 2-1 with 3 minutes left my legs had gone after that run so subbed off, however some poor defending let two very soft goals in, I came on for one final run but my final shot just scrapped the right hand post we lost 3-2!
Not a bad days work, very enjoyable tournament for all involved, back at the hotel for a spa & swim before heading the the lounge for a drink where we sat with Peter Ried & Viv Anderson for a nice chat then headed the the main dinner held at the Condor Hotel next door, good food lots to drink & entertaining talks from Viv & Peter, Peter said that after the 1986 Mexico World Cup he had this reoccurring dream of him chasing Maradona but woke up as he was about to catch him...."I bet you now I could catch him" ha ha..........
Off to the plane we went and out like a light, woke up in Japan!
Well this is the short version of the weekend!
Report by Lenny Tui