Amatuks v Mpumalanga Black Aces, Saturday 28th February 2015, 3.30pm

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Jen and I make an effort to go somewhere each weekend. After all, what’s the point of working around the world if you don’t try and see as much of it as you can? Sometimes though, we don’t go very far and this weekend was one of those occasions.

There’s a nature reserve about half an hour away from where we live that we’ve stayed at a few times. We can hike on a morning and have a fire on an evening. Sometimes when we are hiking we stumble across interesting stuff like bones, warthog tusks or porcupine quills. During the hike this weekend we got luckier and found an ostrich egg. It was cold and abandoned, but we left it until the next morning to be sure.

From what I’ve heard, ostrich eggs can be difficult to open. I’ve read about people having to use a hacksaw on them. I kept it simple though and just hoyed it at a rock. We’d been hoping that there might have been a partly developed embryo inside, but disappointingly there was just yolk and albumen. Lots of it. Still, it exploded in such a satisfying way that I’d like to drop the next one from an upstairs window.

It was even better than smashing a telly.

It was even better than smashing a telly.

In the spare time between hiking and lighting fires we went to the match. The University of Pretoria team, Amatuks, were at home to Mpumalanga Black Aces in the Premier league and in keeping with the local nature of the weekend it wasn’t much more than half an hour‘s drive away.

Security was tight at Tuks Stadium, although they didn’t mind us taking bottles of coke and a camera in with us, items that we’ve had knocked back elsewhere. Jen noticed a cricket game taking place on a pitch behind one of the stands and by taking up residence in the media seats at the top of the stand we were able to reposition our stools to watch that game until the football started.

I couldn’t find out which teams were playing, but the two of us just about doubled their crowd. I kept missing wickets falling by being distracted by events on the football pitch, but I did see a bowler attempt to ‘Mankad‘ the non-striking batsman. Even though the batsman got away with it, the fuss might very well have unsettled his partner who was dismissed next ball.

Pretoria University cricket.

Pretoria University cricket.

When the football started we stayed in the media area. I’m rarely challenged if I’m somewhere that I’m not supposed to be and as there were more stools and desk space than reporters I felt that we weren’t doing any harm.

In fact we must have looked at home there as towards the end of the game a liaison person came over to advise us that the post-match interviewing of players and managers would take place in the tunnel. I had half a mind to nip down and pursue the Five Star on Going Live! style of questioning with them but reluctantly resisted the temptation.

All of the real reporters strolled up close to kick-off.  All that is except the bloke next to us who turned up twenty-five minutes after the game had started. He didn’t seem concerned to have missed Amatuks going a goal up and spent most of the remainder of the first half checking his emails.

View to the left.

View to the left.

There were a couple of players that stood out. For Amatuks it was their Ugandan striker Geoffrey Massa. He carried a bit of weight but made up for his lack of athleticism with his speed of thought.

The trouble was though that he didn’t make any allowances for those of his team mates without those extra yards in their heads and he would regularly thread passes through the Black Aces defence that his colleagues didn’t realise were going to happen until the chance had long gone.

View to the right.

View to the right.

For the visitors it was Zimbabwean Tendai Ndoro who made the biggest impression.  Initially that was more down to his haircut and sulky attitude than anything worthwhile but five minutes before half-time he calmly cancelled out Amatuks opening goal with an assured finish.

Haircut of the day.

Haircut of the day.

The highlight of the second half was the arrival of a  hundred or so Amatuks fans fresh from their team’s victory in the competition for reserve sides, the Multichoice Diski Challenge. I’d thought about going myself but it was a further hour or more drive away and so I’d settled for the local option.

Late arrivals.

Late arrivals.

Twelve minutes from time Amatuks clinched the win when Black Aces failed to clear the ball and some fella half volleyed home at the back post.

 

 

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