Week 9 - 03/04

Week 9 - 03/04

The injury last week to the first team goalkeeper Iona Lupena had all the coaching staff scurrying around looking for a replacement. Into the breach stepped Ron Lal who joined us from the Papatoetoe Football Club. With one training session under his belt Ron was immediately thrown into action against Ngaruawahia last Saturday.

Prior to Ron's arrival I was seriously considering continuing with stand in keeper Stephen Money who bravely stood in for the injured Lupena against Onehunga Mangere.

I was more than impressed with the confidence of Stephen and his brave decision making for the team.

Our weeks training looked at defending once again not only looking at the back four but the whole team. There are so many facets of play we have to cover but in two days a week we have to prioritise.

Ask any player what they want to do and they will invariably answer "shooting and five a side." Many coaches pander to their players and consequently they never learn. A quick way of keeping them happy is put on another shooting session followed by a five a side game. I am not one of those coaches!

So this week we will be once again learning to defend better. We will also top up our fitness, and look at defending at set play. If we apply ourselves fully there may be time for a shooting session.

I took time on Friday to get a look at two future opponents watching the Fencibles versus Papatoetoe fixture. It was played at Riverhills which has been completely refurbished with an Astroturf playing surface. Personally I abhor synthetic surfaces football is meant to be played on grass. The plastic surfaces are false and reduce the game to a predictable, passing, plod.

The game set off at a frantic pace particularly from the home team who looked more at home on the synthetic surface. A feature of the first half was the constant overlapping of the Fencibles right back Dayle Ellis and the mazy runs of striker Alex Saniela.
For Papatoetoe both strikers Josh Karika and Iwa Shaker looked capable of opening the score.

Papatoetoe against the run of play led 1-0 at the interval and added to their tally in the second half. Both goals were scrappy affairs.

A long suffering Fencibles member said to me prior to the start of the game that "Fencibles are the longest serving member of the second division." It's not a title that I would look to take from them.

Our 1-1 draw with Ngaruawahia the next day put us in the top three. 
We struggled to put together lengthy periods of flowing football. The positives were once again we came from behind to salvage a point. That point came from substitute Feldi Mbenguele playing in the unaccustomed position of striker. He took his 88th minute goal like a pro "passing it through the goal." 

The feature of our game was the class of Thabiso Elliot Tieane. The South African defender moves like a thoroughbred is versatile and blessed with an unflappable temperament. He has bided his time to get into the squad patiently waiting for an opportunity to shine and often playing out of position putting in a shift for the team fully realising its a TEAM GAME. He also is a top trainer never missing a session and giving a hundred per cent when he is there.

No player at Manukau City has a mortgage on a jersey. The culture of the club is changing and for a player to be selected each week he has to be on top of his game. Once everyone at the club realises that we may make progress!

On a more personal note I finished reading "Family Life Death and Football" the author is Michael Calvin. It's the second book I have read of his in the past month. The book is based on the successful promotion season of Millwall in season 2010. Calvin goes into the dressing rooms,behind the scenes in fact delving deep into the clubs culture. Prominently featured is the Millwall manager Kenny Jackett. I have met Jackett as a younger player touring for Watford in the days of Graham Taylor and Elton John. I also met him when he signed Rory Fallon as a Swansea player from Swindon Town. The book is well worth reading and it finished on a happy note.
Millwall gained promotion.

Lents over; for me nigh on fifty days of discipline. I finished it listening to a "Arctic Monkeys" album "Suck it and See" the Yorkshire band 

recorded this album in 2011. Worth listening to. Loved some of the Yorkshire phrases used by song writer Alex Turner particularly "you're rarer than a can of Dandelion and Burdock." For the uninitiated that's a soft drink thats loved in the North of England.

Finally on April 1st I got a txt from Stephano Virgilli a friend of mine who lives in Kaeo. It read; " Great. Inter Kaeo have drawn Manukau City in the Chatham Cup." I replied " Ubelievable, déjà vu." (I had played him before in the Chatham Cup with Mount Albert Grammar School.)
I then txt the club Chairman Duncan Edwards, of our draw away in Kaeo.
Next I got in touch with Stephano confirming dates, kick off time and club colours.

He then asked me what day it was. I replied April 1st. You know the rest April fool!

I then got back to the chairman stating we have just saved a substantial sum of money. We don't have to travel to Kaeo.

This week we are off to Northland (seriously) it's essential we bring some points back to keep our momentum going.

Posted: Sun 03 Apr 2016