WHAT A DAY!
First a huge thanks to BILLY HARRIS, ex-All White for a superb day and another very good tournament. We had some superb conditions, and the sun just helped make the event another sucess.
Well, we trained hard for 8 weeks, could not have asked for more from my 13 player squad. We were the first team there and prepared with a good warm-up.
A good chat with the lads to get them focused and explained the importance of good preparation. I could see they were all really focused and very intense.
They had been given a belief from me that they could win the event but it was upto them to produce the goods - AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY DID! They were all a complete credit to the school and I was very proud of every one of them! One other key factor that pleased me was the way the boys were able to communicate with eachother on the pitch. This is another area that is missing with the sport at the youth level in this country.
We were the ONLY team to make the semi-finals UNBEATEN after winning all 5 group games.
Birkenhead B 6-1
Sherwood B 6-0
Forrest Hill A 8-1
Campbells Bay 3-0
The final group game was against arch rivals CAMPBELLS BAY who recently beat us at their mini-tournament on penalties. They are a great school and all very good sports. The boys were extatic with the 3-0 WIN, you would have thought they had won the tournament!
I said to my team at the end that I had watched and experienced the best YOUTH SOCCER I had seen in NEW ZEALAND since arriving.
As a coach there is nothing better than seing the ball moved around the pitch quickly and accuratly. It is even better to see headers and volleys coming from corners and crosses - FANTASTIC!
Onto the semi-final, a very physical game against Birkenhead who have a team full of WYNERS players and we gave them a run for their money. We went 1-0 down to a goal that should not have stood. We did have a few chances and lots of player possitional changes gave us a bit of an edge towards the end of the game.
As I said to the boys after the game, the sign of a VERY GOOD team is one that can beat another in a tight match or in a crutial situation - we did create chances and we could have won it!
It does not matter if its CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, The PREMIERSHIP or SUNDAY LEAGUE the men in black have to do the job properly! Important games are lost due to MISTAKES or bad decisions.
Hand to ball and then a goal as 3 of my players all scream 'HAND-BALL!' It is a shame it ended that way, they did go on to the finals and WIN the tournament - WELL DONE BIRKENHEAD!
I had a few things to say to the ref after the game was over!
He never jogged or ran once! As a ref you must keep up with the play and you must be able to see the ball at all times!
Oh, well, ONE DAY we might request a RE-MATCH!
BOYS - Thanks again for a wonderful day
PAUL - your coach
BILLY HARRIS - Ex-All White (event manager)
From what I saw, I thought your boys were going to win the tournament. Good passing, good personal skills, good fitness. But as with Brazil in 1982, the best team doesn't always win.
SPECIAL THANKS to Bryan du Preez for supplying us with these great images - ENJOY!