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SA diary

Posted on 30 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).

South African Diary: Day 6

Matchday number two and another amazing sunrise over the Table Mountain in Cape Town after yesterday's downfall - the local guy who told me about 'four seasons in one day' had it spot on.

The lads were up early for breakfast and back out to the Athlone Stadium for training at 10.30am.

It's difficult to describe exactly what you see in these South African cities. We are in the heart of Cape Town, amongst high-rise business buildings and hotels - as I look out the hotel I can see the Sheraton, Holiday Inn, a huge ABSA building and the harbour, plus, of course, Table Mountain towering over it all.

Drive out a few miles and the scene changes to the township of Athlone, shacks for houses and what you can only describe as poverty. Men and women sell fruit and newspapers at the traffic lights just outside the ground. It's a land of contrasts, some very stark.

Opposite the impessive main stand of the Athlone Stadium is North Athlone Primary School, sky blue with it's motto painted in big white letters on the walls - 'We are the children, the future, help us make a better day'.

As we parked up, we were greeted by no other than Quinton Fortune's mother Hilda.

A quite lovely lady, she recalled how Quinton, who came to Spurs as a young teenager before ending up at Manchester United, grew up in flats literally a free-kick behind the goal.

She described he grew up in a family of eight boys with one pair of football boots between them, yet managed to get out of the township and find his fame on the football pitch. "I told him Spurs were here and he said I had to come say hello," said Hilda, who did just that with Glenn Hoddle, John Gorman and, fittingly, our kitman Roy Reyland, who looked after Quinton during his spell at Spurs.

This was a lighter session concentrating on team shape and set-pieces. It lasted an hour and after a pre-match press conference with Glenn and Gus Poyet, it was back to the hotel for lunch and rest.

That period of rest gave us a couple of hours to take in Cape Town and Wayne, one of the drivers asssigned to the squad, whisked us up Table Mountain (cable car not working, so it was up, a breathtaking sight and down again) before heading into the Waterfront area. As I've mentioned already, it is a stunning city.

The lads had their pre-match meal and team meeting and we headed off to Newlands Stadium for an 8.30pm kick-off against Kaizer Chiefs.

The game went well in another hot-house atmosphere and we arrived back at the hotel at just gone midnight.

From Paul Miles in South Africa



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