Friday, June 20, 2008

Olim World Cup

When I saw Telfed's website looking for players for the OLIM World Cup, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to be involved in this team. I have heard of the competition after some of my friends won it last year, and wanted to be a part of it. Although it wasn't easy finding South Africans to play, be it because of prior commitments or lack of interest in the game, we eventually found enough players to form a team for the 16 man 5 on 5 tournament at the Goal Time complex in Tel Aviv.

As the new team to the competition, no one knew what to expect from us, including ourselves. We started off the tournament with a fantastic 5-2 win over Switzerland, followed by another strong showing in a 2-1 win over Sweden. With these two victories, we were already guaranteed not only a place in the quarter finals, but also the top spot in our group. However, the difficult win over Sweden had a heavy price to pay - our top scorer, Simon, went down with a knee injury and our goalkeeper, Natan, also hurt himself. The team never fully recovered from their absences, and suffered difficult losses in the last group game (4-0 to Chile) and the quarter finals (5-0 to Ethiopia).

Although we were disappointed at how our tournament ended, we were still proud of the run we had had. The team spirit and camaraderie was phenomenal throughout the four games and it showed on the pitch, where 8 players who had little experience playing with each other managed to compete and win games. The quarter finals was a good achievement in our debut in this tournament, and we'll be looking to go even further next year.

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