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SA diary

Posted on 25 July 2003  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

The Official Spurs Website is with the squad in South Africa - we'll keep you in touch with what is happening on our pre-season tour with this daily diary.

South African Diary: Day 1

It took 17 hours to finally reach our destination in Durban but just a matter of a few minutes to see why this trip is so worthwhile.

The look of joy upon a group of youngsters - described only as 'street kids' from the Durban area - as they mingled and played with these football stars from what must seem like another planet and the response the lads gave to them was one to cherish.

For half-an-hour, these kids, few of them wearing ANY footwear at all, let alone football boots or trainers, were kings of the world. They darted and chased after the ball as the lads joined in and showed no little natural skill either - so much so, our director of football David Pleat pointed one lad out and beamed 'he can play, that lad'.

The boys were handed t-shirts, caps and other gifts from both ourselves and the World Cup 2010 bid committee and their beaming smiles will live long in the memory.

Indeed, Jamie Redknapp summed it all up in a sentence. "It's great we've been able to do something like that. That makes it all worthwhile."

The travelling party actually departed Heathrow at 9pm on Wednesday night and touched down to 25 degrees weather at Cape Town International Airport a little over 12 hours later.

It was long-haul trip lightened by the sight of goalkeeping coach Hans Segers and club masseur Tony McAllister both dancing in their seats to the same cd, the track I'll keep quiet for now!

An internal flight took us to sunny Durban and a stunning Zulu welcome.

The squad were all presented with beads and shook hands with Danny Jordaan, chief executive of South Africa's 2010 World Cup bid committee. Lane legend Gary Mabbutt was also on hand.

South Africa looked beautiful from the sky but I'd often heard it described as a country of contrasts and you could see why on the coach trip from the airport to the hotel as some amazing houses were followed by rows of wooden or even cardboard shacks. Reality strikes hard here.

Once we arrived at the hotel is was down to business and a busy press conference with Daniel Levy, Glenn Hoddle, Simon Davies, Gary Mabbutt, Danny Jordaan, Pirates coach Roy Barretto and star players Mbuelo Mabizela and Lesley Manyathela all in attendance.

Just over an hour later and we were on our way to Amazulu FC and a smaller stadium in the shadow of the huge-looking ABSA Stadium, home of rugby giants Natal Sharks and host of our friendly clash against Pirates on Saturday.

A warm afternoon was replaced by the dark evening sky in a blink of an eye and a light training session, described above, was followed by dinner back at the hotel and a lot of tired bodies finally hitting the sheets!

From Paul Miles in South Africa