Saigon Raiders Club


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The ball fizzles through the air, one of those tele-guided rocket corners Scott patents these days. A box full of people squints the eyes – correction, the Caucasian part at least, the other part is… just looking. My muscles tense, estimating the landing zone of this swerving beauty ridiculously close in my vicinity. No one is breathing down my neck, Vietnamese defenders are short, so they breathe down your arm pits. Could this be it? A clean leap? a clear header?? A bullet connection that will sacrifice a noticeably large portion of brain cells, but end up nowhere else than top or bottom corner, the back of the net?? Adrenaline and images of shoulder pats, YouTube celebrations, a subtle wink from the coach combined with ‘great shift’ (which automatically means ‘you’re selected for every game we ever play’), rush through my head, as an unstoppable train of glory: header goes in, Raiders will win, Raiders become champion… OF THE WORLD!

MY BALL!… shrieks a high pitched voice behind me. I duck, instinctive as a Vung Tau waitress when Roberti is looking for an ash tray on the bar. Surely a loud claim like this warrants the easiest tap in in history? It HAS to be…I abruptly disengage mid-leap and pull in my head like an exposed ice cold winter dick. I’m always excited for a better placed team mate to get on the end of one, its the altruistic nature of my being. I turn around to celebrate the 100% goal and see the tiniest defender of the pack clear the ball, off the floor, with a shank. A-Aron is standing about 10 meters further back, looking like a deer in the headlights, wondering why that corner didn’t miraculously float through 10 bodies to bounce of his sweaty hairless tits past the goalie. He apologizes kindly… “my bad boys, I wasn’t even close this time”.

Now see, this is very fucking likeable, somebody who takes responsibility for his own actions! I mean, you can slap a waffle with speculoos, chocolate and a cloud of cream out of some Belgian’s hands by accident as he is about to bite it… that doesn’t require retaliation, does it? That’s an honest mistake, a small judgment error. Like every time Luke tries to anticipate a bouncing ball. No need for little emotions, because the way we play against this team of bellies, another opportunity will present itself shortly. Yet off course… what happens if the same person slaps that same waffle out of your hands a few times? Things get confusing. One has to understand that this match report is written on the account of no less than three slapped waffles.

This first one was a glorious opportunity in the first half hat presented itself after some excellent short passing by Andy and Scott (I may be making up some of this as I go). A golden counter opportunity ball in feet, one 80 year old defender that would break his hip by a drop of the shoulder blocking the way to the goalie. PASS IT TO ME, PASS IT TO ME… A-Aron running 10 meters off side! Emotions ensued on my part, so the gentlemen we are, we discussed this over tea at half time, and I was made aware that I should pass it earlier and count on the speed of Aronaldo… which made sense, albeit vaguely. The second one was another well appointed corner where I have to say, some shouting was relevant. People ducked, the ball went straight for Aaron’s shiny dome but he pulled back (cold penis) and failed to connect.

Having time to think about the angle of this match report a few things were obvious: I had to rip Aaron a new verbal asshole, without offending him too much, because he’s a friend. Secondly, I could use it as an opportunity to address a slumbering communication issue: the football cock-block. In the football dictionary it would say: when someone overly eager shouts for something when no shouting is due. A better word for this needs to be coined, I trust Pete Bloor to insert here: “…”). It happens in defense on high balls, it happens on the wings with deep balls, it happens in attack with any balls. We are all partial to it on occasion, and It is part of the game. I believe It’s much better to over-communicate than to under-communicate, but… one does have to accept that said over-communication is a lapse, that warrants peer punishment in form of beers, turkeys, towers and whatnot. Up until now its been an accepted football mistake that has been covered with the cloak of love and inadequacy, but I’d like to advocate for a change in policy here: No more waffles on the ground! We are trying to evolve to a more cerebral style of play, where we see a pass before we give a pass. Where we try to play out from the back, where we see defense as the pinball base we can always return too when we are on lock. I’d say thinking before shouting fits in there. Even though we master our football craft only for about 3% up until today, theorizing about it we are masterly good at… so why not add an extra layer of pub discourse?

The rest of the game warrants few words: We were playing a team that was well below our standard. Woutje did well with a brace and a deserved MOM award, Andy scored for the second week in a row, and is now dreaming of pulling a Jamie Vardy, Daniel Vo’s diagonal cross was a peach, Pat tried a Cristiano solo move that worked out for 50% before getting tackled, Craig missed a diving header – props for diving,…

4-1 was a logical result, although it could have been 8-1 also. In any case, these games are good practice, and its nice to try out a few different systems and positions. In the Orient we also noticed there is some talent amongst the new Raiders when it comes down to chugging beer. Beer Coach Pat took note and will start working on a training schedule to hone these skills so we can peak towards Beijing. Lets not kid ourselves, its all about the beer drinking trophy. So chaps, thanks for a great Saturday well spent!

As for Aron:
Buddy, I promise to be more considerate of your feelings on the pitch. You remain the undisputed tap-in king of the Raiders. A true poacher, a fox in the box. I’d trust you shouting on for a baby that is about to launch out of a woman’s pulsing womb, and I know you will catch it! Im sorry for being a turd in your punch bowl, and hope this sincere apology will allow our friendship to continue to grow, like the slow moving fungus that you are, and that I’ve come to know and love. Please note that if you shout for one more made goal in my back I will dismember you and nail your dick to my top scorer trophy at the end of the year.

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It had been a long time coming. Like the Montague’s and Capulet’s, there was deep-rooted, bad blood between these two Titans. Perhaps his rage/envy was rooted in the fact that all three of my passports/nationalities were better than his one, or perhaps my superior collagen elasticity. Or could it be the fact that I am not bowed legged, or perhaps purely for the simple fact that I was a better human being than him in every single way. Regardless, his hatred ran deep and revenge was on his feeble mind. But the levels of sabotage that unfolded could not have been predicted; it will be discussed by scholars and generals for generations to come.


I woke, day one from my sober month and marveled at my clarity of mind, body and spirit. You mean I DON’T have to throw up every morning?! Ibuprophen ISN’T a daily vitamin?! Through my open window, the smell of victory, pho, and homeless-man urine wafted in- today will be a
good day…

Having recently returned from the injured list after slamming blindly into a brick shithouse (goalie) the previously played game and suffering pancreatic bleeding (true story), I was anxious to get back on the field and regain my position. After the initial delirium tremens subsided, I charged into the TV room to get my game face on. I studied my reels of Bundesliga highlights and Trump minority hate speech to get fueled up for the day’s game. Fire in my eyes and destruction on my mind, I was ready.

I decided to arrive early to the field in order to meditate and visualize my day’s goals only to be immediately greeted by the rancid smell the mayonnaise all the way from the car park. As I neared, it was clear that my day just turned to shit… my arch nemesis Mico* was already there plotting his dirty tactics to ruin my day. Cautiously, approaching from his left side (he is weak on the left) I muttered my pleasantries and sat down next to him making sure I was at least arms length away and out of spitting distance.  Small talk skirted around weather, vaginas, and his previously attended “gay-luncheon” (his words, not mine). But I could see the dark, seething, jealous hatred in his eyes. Today I would be playing against 12 opponents.

Coach Colin, in an effort to confuse not only the opposition but also ourselves, put us in the new “69” position. Bi (last-minute substitution for Mirko) anchored as the “taint” of this formidable formation, with Danny “Tardy” Vo, Jaime “Calm and Collected” (shit- I don’t know his last name), Jerry “Redman” Hofstra and Ohashi “The Ninja” (shit- I don’t know his last name either) forming the “testicles”. The girthy shaft was as wide as it was dirty- comprising of Craig, Scotty, Andy, Sipho and Luke. And Wouter the uncircumcised tip.

The game commenced and 2 delicious early goals from Wouter put our spirits high. The 2 “J’s” provided solid back line support with hirsute (look it up Nano) Scottie "Wee-Wee" MacGyver providing hobbit like quickness and ball distribution from the middle. Sipho (see-POH) “The Sodomizer” -wanted it, and Sipho got it, frequently “fucking” the right defender down the left wing. Pat “Rat-nest” Rolex, as per usual, tripped, stumbled, regained balance and control only to stumble again -and that was just from getting off the bench. We looked good… We were playing like a team… we were THE RAIDERS….

Then the magic words floated down the sideline, the words every secret weapon waits to hear…”Aron, Mico- get ready”. We looked at each other and intense eye contact was glared; I cursed his mother under hushed breath. Redemption would be mine. 8 goals in my first 6 games (6 from headers)**
early last season needed to be repeated. The time was now… I took my birth-right position at the head of the “penis formation” but Colin (like my x-girlfriend) decided that a larger head was better than girth, so now Mico was to play up top as well.

Solid teamwork ensured the ball moved swiftly from side to side, me constantly attacking their defense with my hemorrhoid-like persistence and body odor. A solid cross from the right wing almost rewarded by my super-human efforts as my header was BARELY caught by their goalie (who, I hear, plays for Arsenal United usually). However, the “all-for- one-and- one-for- all” camaraderie soon ended as Mico got the ball, fumbled/tripped his way to the corner of the 18, and instead of putting our differences aside and pass the ball to wide open me decided to try and out dribble his demons…and failed. Sabotage at its finest. Being the bigger more intelligent man, I said nothing, instead, deciding to take the higher ground (but still cursing his un-born child).

One play later, amazingly Mico commanded the ball again and instead of giving me a thru ball that would have ensured my moment of glory and undoubtedly sparking the best goal celebration in Raiders history, selfishly decided to try and out dribble their entire team and when losing possession blamed me for being off sides… oh the irony- from the man whos disdain for referees is legendary and is known as the “Ref Killer”- had decided to also play ref. (PS- I wasn’t off sides…)

Game continues. Andy drills one in after (before?) the opposition was able to let one slide past Bi in the bottom right corner. Which was also shortly before (after?) Bi decides to handle a back pass (WTF?!?!).

Nicolas “I’m-actually- not-Algerian” Frenchie comes in to midfield to lend support distributing well and consistently with Luke “I-have- the-best- ADIDAS-connect- in-the- world-but- can’t-get- you-shit” McDonalds. A brief moment of excitement was stolen from “Ratnest” due to the ref not “playing on” but none of us will remember the details as Pat’s subsequent shrieks and whines overshadowed any fancy foot-work (real or imagined/intended or not).

I continued to play like a devil possessed. Not allowing my teammate’s selfish, hateful, hurtful actions or comments to affect my Zen warrior mindset… I would let his petty negativity roll off my back like diarrhea off a duck’s back (Cancun 1992. Yes boys, I’ve been making bad decisions longer than most of you have been alive). A sweet pass by Pat leads to an attempted volley by me, which sadly was intercepted by the first round, pick goalie with outstretched fingers and reflexes like a cat on crystal meth.

Flash forward to corner #1. A glorious ball floats from The Hobbit right to my forehead… knowing football (soccer) etiquette, I loudly call for it- already planning my Beyonce-choreographed celebration dance- only to see Andy fly forward and steal my moment. A clearly distraught Andy vehemently apologies for stealing what was clearly a ball/goal meant for me. After my initial shock of actually hearing Andy’s voice for the FIRST time (he sounds more feminine then I imagined!) I place my outstretched hand on his forehead and whisper “I forgive you.”

Game continues…. More inspired plays by the Raiders. Ohashi bombing up the sideline from a defensive position to give the exhausted team waves of inspiration. Moments later another corner kick opportunity comes Radiers way. Knowing this may be my last chance (given my 7min 43sec/game playing average) for scoring I decide this was the moment I’ve been waiting for. As Scotty and I had practiced so many times before on our Monday night training sessions- the ball sails overhead- my name on it… just as we practiced. And just as this rehearsed play was coming to fruition and the ball is about to hit the sweet spot on my head just between my cranial lobes of charisma and wit- the overpowering smell of stale Trappist beer and Apo hooker meat waft thru the air in front of me and my nemesis sticks his inbred Elephant Man head in the way, sending the ball over the crossbar; evidence of you being out of position and clearly not your ball.

Instead of the obligatory apology, I am ridiculed for “calling for every header”. Mico, you know the rules… if its called for, for better or worse, you leave the ball….”Sorry” is the appropriate response OR better yet- “well, I scored didn’t I…?” BUT YOU DIDN”T! Shame on you Mico, shame on you… The game continues… another goal happens, details of which escape me, and the Raiders ride the wave to victory.

Mico, should your mother develop an intractable yeast infection, I may have had something to do with it….

Aron “The Elder” Schuftan

* Names have been changed to protect the childish and idiotic.
** Or thereabouts



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