Stade Linite is the venue for the historic cup final between Dynamo & Foresters which coincidently, or conveniently is also the home stadium of Dynamo.
Pre game estimates put the attendance at around 1,400, although there’s not many fans outside as the teams arrive early in the day.
An hour before kick off Freddy walked into the familiar home team changing room, not that is was much of a changing room, more an oversized utility cupboard. But this cupboard is todays War Room for Northern Dynamo, as Freddy elegantly put it to the starting 11 ‘Today we have blood in our eyes and murder on our mind!’
‘What the hell is that supposed to mean?!’ Cried forward Jean Tigana (not THAT Jean Tigana)
‘It sounded good in my head. It was meant to be philosophical, or something…’Freddy replied.
Following the rallying cry, the game was just about to kick off. The starters were on the pitch, waiting the referee’s signal. Just as he was about to blow to signal kick off, Freddy waved his arms and the starting forwards, Tigana & Barra looked in his direction as he shouted ‘Alright men, commence Operation Special Delivery! The forwards stood bewildered but Barra asked to no one in particular ‘Has he lost the plot?
Innocent Ladouce, the assistant manager also stood in a confused state, but managed to ask ‘did you just quote The Penguins of Madagascar?’
‘What, no’ Freddy replied sheepishly. With that both managers sat down and took their seats in the dugouts. After the initial rush of blood and excitement from both sides you only get from being in a cup final in front of, well not thousands but a couple of hundred fans, the game calmed down and both teams were taking it slow waiting for the other to be the first to buckle, probing for openings, of which the first came in the 30th minute
Barra was played in down the right wing and played the ball along the box not aiming at anyone in particular, but Carl Melanie tapped in just inside the box to give Dynamo the lead
Freddy is off the bench in adulation screaming GET IN and waving his arms wildly. Innocent is still sat down making notes in his notepad. He’s the level headed of the 2 and he expects there to be some response from Foresters and their manager is also up from the bench shouting instructions.
The encouragement from the bench pays off for Foresters as they’re back on level terms no fewer than 10 minutes later. A real old fashioned center forwards goal, long ball from wide thundered home with a towering header from their forward.
Half time came and Dynamo were the better team despite the scoreline. The words of encouragement from Freddy are brief. Nothing fancy and no need to give too many more instructions, these players aren’t going to be able to take much in. ‘Get the ball forward, get it there quick and for the love of Christ DO NOT CONCEDE AGAIN.
Dynamo continued controlling the game from the second half onwards, and had chance after chance but couldn’t find that break through goal. Esther was one on one with the keeper but put it wide. Maria also saw a header clip the post on it’s way over and the keeper was equal to another header shortly after.
By the 80th minute Dynamo were getting desperate. Maria found himself over 30 yards out with a free kick. ‘Please don’t shoot, please don’t shoot’ were the words Innocent was screaming from the touch line, Freddy was equally concerned as he was trying to get the team lining up for a routine they’d worked on, but Maria stepped up, took a few steps back and the ball flew high, wide and not so handsome as Foresters were given a goal kick.
Not to be deterred from that last effort, Maria made amends as from that goal kick the ball was headed clear at the back and Maria picked up the ball out wide on the left. He played it infield to Mussard who held on to it, then played an inch perfect pass into the box, inside right channel and Maria guided the ball towards goal. It glided into the far corner of the goal out of the keepers reach
There was time for one last chance for Foresters. Another long range effort came but was blocked on it’s way to goal, but just inside the area Padayachy (fantastic name!) latched onto it and time stood still. He took 1 touch, then another and another, all the while the Dynamo defence were nowhere to be seen. Freddy and Innocent were screaming towards the players, but as they did the shot came and it was a straight bullet to goal, too straight all things considered, as Horaeau in goal took the ball full flight into his chest and fell to the ground clutching it.
As the team filled the dressing room after taking in the moment with the 1,455 fans in attendance, there was a couple of bottles of cheap champagne there waiting for them. As much as the team and Freddy wanted to rejoice they knew this cup win would be soon forgotten if the team ended up getting relegated.
Some congratulatory words were said, champagne drunk and high fives all round, but they were now having to get back to the grind. They could still be relegated, and Freddy knew it.
Next chapter – Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end
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