Community FUN in South Africa

Having spent Wednesday morning completing an intensive recovery session in the wake of their opening tour game against Amazulu, the Glory travelling party headed to a local school as part of a football clinic organised in conjunction with the club’s Community and Development department.

Having spent Wednesday morning completing an intensive recovery session in the wake of their opening tour game against Amazulu, the Glory travelling party headed to a local school as part of a football clinic organised in conjunction with the club-s Community and Development department.

And the players could hardly have wished for a warmer or more effusive welcome when they arrived.

Already kitted up and good to go, the 13 and 14 year-olds were quickly clamouring for autographs and keen to get down to some ball work at the first opportunity.

Set high in the hills that tower dramatically over the city of Nelspruit, Curro School may only have been open for six months, but the sports facilities are very much up and running, with the clinic taking place on an expanse of pitches set up for football, cricket and rugby.

Around 40 students took part in the session which involved several skill drills leading into a small-sided game using a goal guarded manfully by young Glory ‘keeper Devon Spence.

With the likes of Michael Thwaite, Adrian Zahra, Josh Risdon, Jesse Makarounas and Brandon O-Neill throwing themselves into the action, there were plenty of thrills, spills, smiles and high fives going around and no shortage of skill on show from the Curro students.

As the session drew to a close, four female students performed an impromptu version of Queen-s Bohemian Rhapsody, with their superb young voices fortunately powerful enough to drown out the less tuneful accompaniment provided by several Glory players who may or may not have been Steven McGarry and Billy Mehmet.

There was still time for the players to sign some more balls, shirts and even hands and arms before heading back to the coach, leaving Glory-s Community and Development Manager Callum Salmon to reflect upon another highly event.

“It is a great opportunity and a privilege to work within rural communities in developing townships that allow Perth Glory to grow and add value to the game”, said Salmon.

“The players thoroughly enjoyed the experience and it-s a testament to the club-s ever-growing commitment to football at grass roots level.”

Curro School sports teacher Ryan McCarthy was equally delighted by the afternoon-s session.

“A lot of our guys had already been on the internet checking Glory out before they arrived and as most of them have never seen a professional football side before in their lives, they were just in awe of them.

“They really enjoyed every minute and it would be great to have Glory come back here next year by which time the whole school will be fully completed.”

Following the Curro School visit, Salmon, Glory team manager Ian Gillan and goalkeeping coach Willie McNally all headed to the scene of last night-s game against Amazulu, Mbombela Stadium, for another coaching clinic.

This time the focus was coach education and more than 30 local coaches attended a session which included a full warm-up, passing and possession drills and small-sided games, followed by a question and answer session.

And again, Salmon was delighted with the outcome.

“It was a fantastic session”, he said.

“The stadium here in Mbombela is magnificent, the surface is superb and the local players involved had wonderful attitudes and a great range of skills and tricks.

“Trying to fuse those key African attributes into a European passing style was a really enriching experience and I-d also like to say a special thank-you to Ian and Willie for all their work in making it such a successful event.”

Further clinics are scheduled throughout the rest of Glory-s stay in the Republic, while the players will now turn their attentions towards Friday and the second game of the tour against Platinum Stars.

Perth Glory-s 2012 pre-season tour of South Africa is proudly sponsored by Kaboko Mining, Okap Ventures, Europcar and managed by prominent South African firm SportUnplugged.