Sunday, September 18, 2011

No time for sightseeing

A busy day with a series of meetings kicking off with the team manager's meeting, covering rules and regulations relating to the competition from the AFC guys in suits. It included player registration, kit colours, sleeve patches - if players are not wearing the correct patches they won't be allowed to play - dope test procedures and lots more. The sort of stuff that is procedural but needs to be overseen by someone or else in high level competition like this then it can come back to bite you on the arse with a fine or worse. The medical meeting followed, then it was time for lunch and at 2pm we had the Group B press conference with Phnom Penh Crown's coach David Booth and captain Thul Sothearith out front. It didn't take long as you could count the media folks on one hand. In the second session, the Taiwan coach got all heated and passionate about his beliefs that his team can win and how important Taoism was. Crown's first look at the Kaohsiung national stadium came at 3pm when we made the 15 minute drive from the hotel for our 1-hour training session. The playing surface was excellent and the ground itself is state of the art, with solar panels included. The AFC suits were there in force making sure we didn't get a minute more or less than our 1 hour and also telling us to cover up sponsors logos on our shirt sleeves. It's all very officious. David was pleased with the session and the players hunger for the task ahead. We headed back to the hotel with his words ringing in the players ears. Dinner was at 7.30pm in a room with the other foreign teams in the competition, lots to eat and the all the players were instructed to get an early night and lots of rest ahead of tomorrow's first, and vitally important that we get off to a good start, game.



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