Football will always come first for football clubs but the focus on these tours is a little different. Okay, the match is what will really be remembered — many of the local people on the island happily give you an ‘I was there’ story in reference to the club’s visit back in 1974 — but the sight of these Premiership footballers rubbing shoulders with young kids from the other side of the world is never easily forgotten.
Hundreds of kids turned out to give players and officials a colourful welcome before a display of Mauritian cultures, a coaching session involving the full squad and a signing session to finish.
It is heart-warming stuff. So when you ask Head Coach Martin Jol - pictured planting a tree in the grounds of the school to commemorate our visit - how important it is to perform well against the Mauritius national team this afternoon (the game kicks-off 3.30pm UK time), he replies like this: “The most important thing here is the week itself.
“We have seen all the Mauritius people, they are so grateful, the kids — they seem to be Tottenham fans and they talk about us as a great club. Perhaps we realise when we hear them talking that we are a great club, so that’s a good thing as well.”
He has a point. As soon as you step off the plane on a Tottenham tour, the first thing, generally, you’ll see is a Tottenham shirt. This correspondent can certainly relate to that in the USA, South Africa, Dubai and now Mauritius. We’ve got every corner of the globe covered!
As for the rest of this tour, the game, as explained, is at the Anjalay Stadium kicking-off at 6.30pm here. The first party returns home on Saturday but those remaining will represent the club at the races on Sunday where we are handing out the Tottenham Hotspur Souvenir Cup to the winner of the race we’ve sponsored.
Three days into our tour of Mauritius and you might argue that the highlight is yet to come — although anyone who witnessed our trip to Rose Belle North Government School might counter that it happened on Thursday morning.