Yes, I've done it again: after a shortened season because of the World Cup, I added some silverware with a League Victory with Panorama F.C.
Captain, my captain
Ok, it has happened once again.
After a very successfully season
at Panorama F.C., we managed to keep our focus until the end and we won the
massively disappointment end of the season of last year
, when we lost at home
in the last round only to see the other team celebrating their unexpected
league triumph on our field, I got my personal revenge. And this time I was the
admit that in three years I enjoyed quite a bit of success at Panorama:the
League Cup in 2008
, a promotion (even if finishing second was awful) in 2009
and a League title in 2010.
league, even in a crazily shortened season like this one is south Africa (the
usual March to September calendar has been compressed to a crazy March to May
to accommodate the World Cup, since most of the teams are staying in our region
-Gauteng- and are using the football facilities in the area for training and
friendly matches) is always an achievement.
cup, when with some luck in the draw and one game per round you can somehow
overachieve, the league awards only the teams that are consistently performing
over all the rounds.
year, from the start, this has been the case. After spending 2-3 games finding
our best formation, we went to win 9 games in a row before dropping some points
away. But after winning 3 of our last 4 games with high scores (9-0, 8-0 and
5-0, with the only loss of the season in between), we finished at the top, with
the best attack, the best defence and the best goal difference by far.
memories go back to the first and last time I won the league.
It was in 2003
and it was with Parsons Green in my London days. I was a totally different
player back then.
I was quicker, I was leaner, and I was younger
. I was playing
left back in a position that taught me to use my often forgotten left foot to
the extent that now I can easily play with both feet.
get easily injured and if I got a nasty hit all I had to do was simply put some
ice, drink some Guinness and be ready for the next training sessions 3 days
league also added an extra layer of aggression
to my totally different Italian game. I played like an Englishman and I
was proud to be part of a team that for some years was probably one of the best at that level in the area.
Now I look
myself at the mirror and I see a totally different player. Less quick, less
lean, almost too heavy for my already stocky frame, and prone to injuries that
require weeks of physiotherapist sessions and rest that never really happens.
defensive central midfield (my favourite role) and I'm maybe more aware of what
happens around me and how to make the ball work for me. I'm one of the oldest
of a team full on players in the early 20's (or even still at school), and I'm the
becoming the captain gave me some extra motivation to simply keep playing with
a lot of strapping on and tried to enjoy the tournament.
I had to talk, to
shout, to command and , to a certain extent, I liked it (not sure if my team
mates enjoyed having me shouting orders on the field, but someone has to do
I was lucky
enough this season to have a fantastic coach, who tried hard to keep us
interested in training by introducing exercises that I've personally never seen
in many years of football, and to had a psychological layer to our sessions.
And my team
was simply fantastic.
A great mixture of youngsters way more mature that their
age that gelled perfectly with the older guys, experienced players to create a
lethal cocktail of extreme physicality (I think most of the team we played
still have nightmares about our midfield) and speed, provided by those
teenagers that can simply go up and down forever.
with the victories and the goals came some pressure from a club that hasn't
seen a league triumph in almost 8 years. We probably played really bad only 2
games, for different reason (a 2-2 with Dra Peace where we scored all the
goals, including 2 own goals, and a 1-2 defeat at Dainfern when we got too
. By winning 5-0 against Randburg in our last game we sealed the
league with 13 victories in 16 games (2 draws and 1 loss), and, best of all, I
could celebrate surrounded by my team with the captain's armband, while
Lindsey, mu beautiful wife, earlier still a bit worried about what would happen
if I'd lose again (last year it was a disaster), was taking pictures and
joining in with the rest of the team for
a final celebratory drink in the pub.
the world cup starts, I have a reason to celebrate and again getting a bit
nostalgic about my past years playing football around the globe, from
Italy to South Africa via London.
Now I just
hope that, the 11th of July,
another Italian will join me into the celebration, by lifting a cup in Soccer City
at the final act of the world cup.