Saigon Raiders Club

Last week, we bade a fond farewell to a German and a gent, Daniel Breustedt.

The outgoing captain’s boots have been filled by Olly with on the pitch duties and Jerry with off the pitch duties, as the new Captain and Vice-Captain were sworn in during the post-game, Orient frivolities.

Another Friday. Another game. Another win?  The Raiders hopes and dreams couldn’t have been higher. With top spot in grasping distance and the best defensive record in the league. Maybe it was the weather that dampened the spirits but as the mist refused to settle we took to the pitch for a warm up led by Scott.
It was high intensity to say the least as Olly took a few knocks from his team mates in the small sided game.

The defensive line set up as Vincent, Myself, Jerry and Pete in the usual banana formation. In the first half the crescent shape was rarely seen but the banana skins were clear for all. We struggled to string passes together; Scott had set the target at 8 before the game, which proved impossible. We put ourselves under pressure that led to Olympique opening the scoring with a soft goal. Soon after was the turkey moment. When one gets the opportunity for some ponderous self-reflection one should relish the chance to take a long hard look at oneself and then Google Confucius quotes.

What is the turkey moment?

It was born out from the boot fulls of Schadenfreude we Raiders enjoy. Always happy to take delight in others’ misfortune, sometimes more so than our own good fortune. Blunders, gaffes, faux pas, slip ups, school boy errors and even whiffs (N.American) will guarantee a nomination for Turkey and the honour of writing the match report. So this limp, lifeless turkey was right to be plucked by our “Beast of Bui Vien”. Maybe he could smell blood or possibly a starting place in the next game against Hotshots, but the turkey choice was valid nonetheless. 

So here I am; splayed out on the table. Giblets strewn around and gizzards battered after receiving a good stuffing by Olympique. 

I could have blamed the elements or Mother Nature herself. I could have blamed my aging, aching legs. I could have blamed the low floodlights that momentarily impaired my vision. But fabricating a story like that would be wrong and dishonest and a real man should stand up and take responsibility for his actions. But I won’t do that. Instead I’m going to blame Craig…

Whilst attempting to relieve a blockage in my Qi (flow of energy) which had been causing my “one a game” bad passes Pat so fondly recalled, last week, Craig actually removed all my Qi entirely to use for his own bidding. Nano told me after the game that he saw Craig on the side-lines doing Tai Chi and conducting some bizarre, ancient Chinese divinations.

So, Qiless I had no chance whatsoever to make a pass let alone execute a left foot volley. Craig, on the other hand, actually had a decent game and even got a M.O.T.M nomination.

In the aftermath of the “Whiff” (Collin claims there were two but I think I blanked the second one out – probably due to the lack of Qi). My team mates could see my obvious distress and backed me up with empathetic calls of, “Chin up, son!”, “Better luck next time!” and “Stop being such a useless Cunt!”.

Anyway, back to the post turkey moment action:

The 10 was removed during the first half as Coach Colin feared some seismic shifts (followed soon after by Scott, Pete and Jerry, all of whom were never seen again. Swallowed down a sinkhole?…). Pat was replaced by our very own francophone, Nico “The Belgian Waffler” Greeve, who should be credited for coining our back four “Banana”. He entered the arena bringing hopes that his superior language skills would be used to get under the skin of our opponents, with torments like “Vous etes comme simple qu’une vache”  but instead he looked more like Sinterklaas, bringing gifts for each of the men in white. These presents were in the form of no look, reverse, flick kicks which were gobbled up by the hungry French like little syrup covered Christmas delights. St. Nico continued to offer these little sweet treats for our opponents until mid-way through the second half when Scrooge decided to punch him in the head and start crying uncontrollably. From then on St. Nico lost all his Christmas cheer and had only coal and distain for the French. He went on to dispatch the penalty, won by some silky Olly step overs in the box, blasting into the roof of the net.

Suddenly, there was a game on. We were the stronger team with the majority of second half possession. However, our only threat in the last few league games has come from set pieces. If Bao and Danny Vo’s efforts had been on target, the storyline could’ve been different. Mic, who played his usual, tenacious game in the middle of the park, made it difficult for their attackers to create anything of worth in the second half and provided options going forward. His performance rightly earned him Man of the Match. Captain Olly held it together in the centre when the opposition preferred histrionics over actually playing football. He kept cool and was involved in every attack in the second half. Andy was running for the whole game until the hairless centre back hauled him down horrendously. He is yet to get his leg checked out but we are unlikely to see him play against Hot Shots.  Others to mention were, Bao, in his first league game, who said afterwards he didn’t feel he could play with his usual expressive style. He did however, have a few good link ups with Vincent in the first half. Whilst he provided a good attacking outlet, Coach Colin felt Vincent was lacking in defensive duties. This was met with an insolent shrug not appropriate from a Raider, let alone a committee member. It has been noted by a few new and old Raiders that sometimes we lack respect during team talks by Colin and Olly and we really should let them finish before adding our pearls of wisdom. This should be true when giving constructive criticism to teammates. We are all man enough to hear someone out. It’s then your prerogative to heed or ignore their input. Let’s try to take any criticism on the beak and move on. On Wednesday, I’ll be expecting all of your input on how to execute left foot volleys when there’s a big bald Frenchman up your arse!

Final Score: Olympique 2 – 1 Raiders

I almost forgot to add the Confucius quotes!

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling but rising every time we fall.”

“Respect yourself and others will respect you.”

“When it is obvious that goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”

“Football is very simple but we insist on making it complicated.”

And finally, one for Daniel German:

“It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you never stop!”

Become a Saigon Raider

Become a Saigon Raider