Arriving in Cape Town in mid-September, Joel, our 18 year old gap volunteer was tasked with taking the reins of the new Under 13 local Hout Bay Township team for the club Barcelona. Being a new side he was left with the cast-offs from other clubs, and in the local fixtures they were getting beaten half a dozen goals a game.
Discipline and punctuality were initially a frustrating problem, but through consistent hard work morale improved and the team began to mould together, players were turning up for training each day and the Friday results started to improve.
By the end of October the team managed their first point with a drawn game. Then in early November they recorded their first win in a thrilling game. Playing well but down 2-0 at half time, they managed to pull a goal back and to have most of the play. With the crowd cheering on the underdogs they drew level and then with 5 minutes to go a goalmouth scramble resulted in the winner. Supporters, the subs, the township dogs and Joel raced on to the field in true African pandemonium to celebrate with the players.
Suddenly, we now have about 30 kids turning up for training most afternoons (not always on time – but this is Africa) and the spirit is tremendous.
As a reward Joel took 6 of the best behaved kids to Cape Town Stadium to watch the USA / SA international match. The atmosphere was as exciting as during the World Cup and everyone enjoyed themselves despite South Africa losing by the odd goal.
On Friday we took Joel to Premier League club Ajax Cape Town – Ajax Amsterdam. owns 50% of the club as it was time for Lulu, our 14 year old prodigy, to have his annual review at the club. Lulu will continue to play for the Ajax Cape Town junior side in 2011