I feel I should start this post with what is both the biggest news of the last few weeks and an explanation of why this post has taken so long it has to cover a ‘few’ ! Unfortunately my laptop has been stricken with what I can only assume is some sort of of late onset millennium bug which has rendered the screen about as useful as the two jumpers I brought to Indo with me! This coupled with the fact that I still haven’t collected the notebook I left at JIS Pattimura last Tuesday me in a pretty poor state of affairs in the chronicling-of-my-time department meaning i’m gonna be playing it pretty fast and loose with regards to timings/dates.
The other non-football related news that has had the largest affect on our lives here over the last fortnight was our membership to the local Gym/Swimming Pool next to Citos, a membership which not only allows us to go swimming every day after work but also, just as importantly, enables us to use the actual showers!
With our membership of the Pool our days have settled into a pretty well-established pattern with school in the mornings followed by coaching, swimming and dinner at Citos. Our actual coaching duties have definitely improved after the ‘match week’ at the end of April/start of May, as the month has progressed we have started to have a much larger role to play in sessions, taking largely independent ones at ISCI, Pancoran (u-12s/ u-16b) and Jakarta International School where we worked Reza’s… energetic, u-6 group who were a lot of fun but very hard work!
Last weekend was probably the best of our time here so far, starting with a really enjoyable control session with the u-12 group at Pancoran. Although the group displayed an improvement in technique the most enjoyable aspect of it was definitely getting the kids out of their shells by encouraging them to shout for the ball, an aspect some them definitely took to heart as demonstrated by the stick they were giving me when I went in goal for the match (although I had the last laugh, leading my team to a comprehensive victory which I obviously rubbed in their faces). In the early parts of our time here Robbie and I often commented how quiet the kids were during sessions both in terms of calling for the ball and the normal banter you would expect to hear, however recently they seem to have become a bit more comfortable around us which has led to more interaction between each other and us, a good thing as generally (within reason) a noisy session is a good one!
After Pancoran and returning home we were invited out to play Futsal with some of the guys from Nomads at an indoor centre next to Pondok Indah Mall (altough Reza maintains that, because of the 3g it’s not ‘proper futsal’). After playing it for four years at Uni its safe to say i’m a massive fan of five a side but playing it in Indonesia is a completely different ball game (no, it literally has a different ball), the main difference is, as with all things here, the humidity, luckily each team has one sub, a role which rapidly became the most coveted position in the side as our hour playing time began to stretch into what felt like eternity. Despite this heat, however, it was a lot of fun to be playing 5s again and, although Robbie got injured after about 20 minutes I felt we both gave a good account of ourselves.. Thank God for Powerade!
After the game everyone was heading back to De Hooi, via a shower, for it’s 20th Anniversary celebrations where the rumours were, there would be free beer. After stopping off at Citos to use the facilities we met up with Reza for dinner before heading to the bar at about 8 where discovered the owner was providing 20 free BARRELS of Bintang for the night, although this seems like as the offer has been running since half five Robbie and I were wary of running out and so rushed through our first few drinks before being informed they were only one barrel down, at which point we had to explain to the locals how different things would have been in the UK!
After a top night at De Hooi the next day we had managed to secure the afternoon shift at ISCI which meant we got to enjoy a leisurely lie-in before heading to training at 12 where we were each allocated a different group of under-12s to work with, Robbie with Amir and me with Simon. After the succesful session the day before I was in a confident mood and was very pleased with the way my session, this time on using your touch to create space, went … especially with Simon (the ex-cameroonian pro still accorded legend status in some parts of Indonesia) there to help me with translations and demo’s, all in all I think we were a good team! Following our under-12 sessions Robbie and I were paired together to put on a session with the U-16 ‘soccer school’ (as opposed to ‘progressive’) group, deciding to work on shooting we ran a drill called ‘the chaser’ in which groups of 2/3 situated on different cones have to run on goal and shoot before various progression and variations are added. Shooting drills are always popular, and this proved no exception, the kids particularly seeming to enjoy representing cones named after premier league teams; Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool,Chelsea, City, United and (at Robbie’s insistence) Glasgow Rangers! It was however, a bit of a change from the norm that we had to keep on having a go at the kids not to pass! After two good sessions we headed home were a quality weekend was, of course, topped off by the most dramatic end to a season I’ve ever seen, securing both Arsenal, and my fantasy football team’s place in the ‘Champions League Spots’ of our respective leagues..
This week has been pretty quiet as, after our day off on Monday, school was cancelled due to a family bereavement on Tuesday and Wednesday before everywhere was shut for Indonesian public holidays on Thursday and Friday meaning our only real activities other than the standard, DVD/Swim/Nasi (or Bebek) Goreng was another coaching clinic at the same school as we visited on our first week (with less kids this time, no need for a microphone!) before another visit to Murphy’s Kemang to topple it’s famous San Miguel ‘tower’ on Thursday night where we ran into Simon, the new boss, before heading our to another nondescript Indonesian night club and topping the night off with a couple of McDonalds Spaghetti’s! Which cost about 30p each, today Robbie and I had 5 between us….Ok, I had 3.
After a week or two of pining after India/ Home I feel much more settled in Indonesia now, we’re getting to do a lot more coaching, a trend I hope will only continue and even the humidity seems less of an issue now I have a new fan which Nislam managed to assemble after I threw a strop, convinced I’d been conned, which has elevated him to god-like status in my eyes. Anyway, I’d better be off, got a BBQ paid for by the boss for the Champions league final tonight to go to, Happy Days!
P.S. I watched Avengers again, It’s still the best thing ever.