Saigon Raiders Club

While the regular schedule kept going in the SIFL, it was international break for the Saigon Raiders, as several players were convocated to represent their respective countries for the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers. On a hot and sweaty Saturday morning, the off-league derby opposing the Pink Raiders to the Red Raiders was played on world class FIFA-certified football pitch. The condition of the pitch already announced the colors of the game, and that color was brown. We can thank Captain Levert for his venue management skills that had so far not disappointed the team. I guess the story is different while organizing events on and off the pitch.

With most of our players kitted with Nike shoes, it was obvious that they did not have the proper equipment to elevate their game on the green (brown). As a result, the game soon turned into a sliding competition – slash – mud bath where players were falling one after the other faster than on Omaha Beach on the morning of 6 June 1944. Some will argue that such a spa treatment is a delicacy for the skin, while others will say it’s perfect to protect yourself for mosquitos. The outcome of the game would have definitely been different if everyone was wearing adidas products. It goes without saying.

Despite the big guns on the Pink Team, it was obvious that the strongest defense on that side of the pitch was the mud puddles that never missed a chance on stopping some very promising attacks, and the strongest attacking elements were the referees who had no idea on how to apply rule #11 of the FIFA Rule Book. For those who don’t know (i.e. Clemens Levert), here is a little refresher on what the rule states: “A player is in an offside position if, when the ball is played by a team-mate, they are nearer to the opposition’s goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent.” As you can see, the rule makes no distinction of the goalkeepers and other players on the pitch for the application of this rule.

Ironically, the main referee was aware of the rule about taking water breaks while playing in extreme weather. Again, for your information, the rule goes as follows: “Water breaks are allowed by FIFA rules any time after 30 minutes into a game played in extreme heat, but they are not mandatory.” With top-class finish from Kim and questionable offside goal from Clemens, it was 2-0 at half-time.

With half of the Red Raiders morphed into Mud Monsters, they were ready to jump back in the swamp and bring some heat back into the game. As the Red camp was getting more and more comfortable on the pitch, some descent chances were created in the attempt of retaliating to the injustices they were victims of during the first half. Lack of luck, none of the great runs of the pitch were converted into a point on the scoring board.

Then, one thing led to another, and the game was won by the Pink Raiders & Referees at a final score of 5-0. It was a very tight game. Unfortunately, no footage of this historical derby exists. No booking in the game, except for a yellow card awarded to Mike for kicking the ball outside the pitch after the whistle, in a sign of frustration despite a five-goal lead. This yellow card booking was also Mike’s only record on the game sheet on that day.

This post was brought to you by Her Royal Highness Hamez, Princess of Colombia and Ruler of the Southern Kingdoms.

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