As I write this I am in a great deal of pain having been gang raped, bitten, by a monstrous group of mozzies! My back currently looks like an unfinished dot to dot. I?ve told the local police but they said they can do very little as the gang have very few distinguishable features and left no evidence, b******s!

Right, so carrying on from last week, Thursday. Last Thursday I had the school football tourno to attend with Ekala. This was an awesome day. To start with I got a lie in, I didn’t have to get up until 8 instead of my usual 5.30. Got down to the school about 9 and got all the stuff ready to board the school bus. Think I was a little too hopeful with that one .. the school bus was the public bus .. nice! Its not actually too bad, and its dirt cheap, its just soooo crowded though. Bus to ColomboYou quite often end up with someone’s groin in your face, that’s if you do manage to get a seat. After about an hour or so we reached the outskirts of Columbo and got off. We then walked through what I can only describe as a shanty town, it was pretty nasty and trying not to sound too cheesy does really make you think about how lucky you are, a tap in their house would be a luxury for these people. After a ten minute walk suddenly out of nowhere sprung a footy pitch, and it wasn’t your normal sri lankan footy pitch, this one actually had grass, and goals, with nets. Jackpot baby!!

Ekala footballWe got all the kids signed in and warmed up and within the hour we were on for our first game. I’d watched the game before ours briefly and the thing that stuck me most was how small our lads looked compared to every other school. I must admit a bit of doubt about how we might fair did creep in at that point. Anyway, we took the field for our first game, the ref blew the whistle and we were off and underway. The opening exchanges were pretty even, the ball just pinging around the midfield. After about ten minutes though we settled and our two lads in the centre started to overrun their opposite numbers. For the remainder of the half we were camped in the opposition’s penalty area, that said we didn’t really look like scoring. The other team had adopted the bee swarm tactics, wherever the ball goes their entire outfield players would follow, like a swarm of bees, we just couldn’t get any space. As the half was drawing towards its close we did however get a free kick right on the edge of the box. Now both our lads in the centre can hit a ball pretty sweetly and I thought this could well be our moment. Sanjah lined up the kick only to blast it into the wall, the ball then looped up into the air and seemed an easy header away from danger. The only thing is sri lankan’s cannot head!! They just close their eyes, let the ball smack them in the face and hope for the best. This is exactly what their last defender done .. and yes he made a complete hash of it. The ball then fell to our little forward who I’ve nicknamed Luke on the edge of the 6 yard box (dunno why, its obviously not his name, he just looks like a Luke), and Luke has caught it on the half volley sending it looping over the keeper and into the far corner cue ecstatic, crazy white man jumping around on the touchline like a lunatic. don’t think I taught him that one but I couldn’t care less 1-0!! And that’s how it stayed, we bossed the second half and could have scored a couple more, but I was happy with a 1-0, it was a win and points on the board. Our second game came after lunch and from the off they looked a much better team than our first opponents. We soon found ourselves 1-0 down but it was all our own doing I’m afraid. I’d been teaching our keeper how to kick from hands the previous day, simply telling him to use two hands and drop the ball rather than throw it upwards. Anyway, he does the hard part of saving a dubious free kick but then proceeds to forget everything I taught him the previous day and launches the ball miles into the air hoping to catch the ball on the volley and send it down field, only ever one outcome airshot! He then picks the ball up and the ref blows for a foul. I knew it would be a foul, an indirect free kick inside the box, not according to this ref who had obviously been following the rob styles guide to refereeing penalty! .. YOU WHAT?? I was not a happy bunny, anyway they scored. The home crowd were now in pretty much full voice, they had a number of supporters where as we had none. Anyway we soldiered on and again made a late surge at the end of the first half. Firstly we had shot well saved by their keeper and then had a blatant handball in the area waved away by my new friend the ref. As luck would have it the handball(punch) didn’t go very far, ricocheted around the area and eventually fell to young Luke who again done the business, tucking it into the corner from six yards. YESSSSSSSSSSS!! I literally erupted right in the middle of the home support, hopefully pissing a few of them off the process. In your face home support, in your face referee, IN YOUR FACE!! 1-1. The second half was pretty tense, we were well under the cosh, and could have easily conceded but held out for the draw and almost sneaked it at the death although that would have been harsh on the other team who were good.

A win and a draw, baring an absolute hammering on the Friday we were through to the next round, a job well done and a good day out. The Thursday night I went into Columbo with Rob and met Samie and Nick for some food and a few well earned drinks. We ended up in a club called R&B which was awesome. I’ll let you guess what type of music it was, the band were really quite good though and the Dj at the end allowed me to show what I can do on the dance floor … Very little.

sigariya rockFriday morning we set off for the cultural triangle. A weekend of history, skeptical. We stopped off at four places over three days. First was Dambulla, followed by Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya. It was mostly all centered on the Buddha and current Buddha’s rituals and beliefs. Some of the temples were pretty amazing and the art work astounding! The guides we had were also pretty funny, one thought he was a comedian, and loved his jokes so much he told them over and over. What’s the definition of an Archeologist? One crack pot looking for another crackpot, don’t think Peter Kay is losing too much sleep. The other guide I swear couldn’t speak English, he just pointed, mumbled then asked for money, well earnt mate, well earnt! The weekend was also marred not just by bad jokes (unusually not my own) but also by the fact that I was feeling pretty rough. Rougher than any two man donkey looks after trying to run a marathon! .. so I really did struggle to take a lot of it in. The best bit of the weekend was probably climbing Sigiriya rock. The guide said allow 2-3 hours so I was readying myself for the worst but we motored up it 30 minutes. Even Susanne, a 60 yr old American who recently joined the elephant orphanage project made it up inside an hour. Quality views from the top! This admittedly is a pretty poor write up of my weekend but its quite hard to describe it all.

So onto this week. Well on the Monday I coached at the school in the afternoon and found that they had continued their good form on the Friday and won their last group game 1-0. This made us group champions and we were through to the knockout stages on the Wednesday. I also played with a local team on the Monday and got to meet Tyron’s (the school coach) in-laws. An experience. Tuesday I was again at the school in the morning and afternoon, and was supposed to be coaching at the club in the evening. I rang, confirmed, and got told someone was on the way but no one ever came, see what happens tonight otherwise words will have to be had.

Wednesday was the knockout stages of the footy tourno. We traveled to the same school and had our first match at 11. It was our first and only game as we lost 2-0. We never really turned up, our goalkeeper again tried his circus trick only to be nut-megged as the ball fell at the feet of the opposition, but we were also cheated out of the tournament, yes I’m still bitter! First of all the ref was a disgrace, allowing a two footed tackle that almost broke one of our lads legs to go unpunished, and to add salt to the wound the other team broke up field and scored. Secondly, I was reliably informed that the other team fielded four boys who were 14 and over. Apparently if teams win tournaments like this it gets them recognition, which in turn gets them more funds or equipment from their local governing board, so its in their best interests to do as well as possible, this unfortunately leads to several schools paying for false dates to be put on their pupils football registration cards. Shocking, absolutely shocking!

Went back to the school this morning to coach and all the kids seemed ok. I think I took our premature exit worse than they did, and hopefully I’m coaching at the club this evening. This weekend I’m off to climb Adams peak (insert own sexual innuendo as appropriate). Apparently it 4-5 ours to climb, starting at 2am so you get to the top for sun rise … this could hurt.

Take care,

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