Spurs in Mauritius: Days 4, 5 and 6
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).
FRIDAY was game day so the players went through their usual routine of breakfast, relaxation and a pre-match meeting and meal at 3.15pm for the 6.30pm kick-off. That meant a little free time for everyone else and a number of the staff including Frank Arnesen, Clive Allen and Hans Segers took the opportunity to play golf at the breathtaking Ile aux Cerfs Golf Course. The brochure of the course sums it up — ‘a championship golf course on its very own tropical island in the blue Indian Ocean, fringed by white sands with a backdrop of green mountains, truly one of the world’s great golf settings’. I have to say, the description doesn’t even do this course justice. It is spectacular — and spectacularly hard. Clive struck the ball well throughout and kept his game together more than most to card 30 stableford points and win.
THE COACH departed for the game at 4.30pm for the relatively short journey to the Anjalay Stadium. We arrived at 5pm and it was pandemonium for the next four or so hours with the islanders going crazy for the lads. The stadium looks impressive from the outside and has some lovely quirks inside — like plain glass windows into the dressings rooms, allowing all and sundry to watch the players get changed! As has been documented, we won the game 2-0 with goals from Robbie Keane and Lee Barnard although Mauritius acquitted themselves well and should be proud of their performance, particularly defensively. Indeed, Frank Arnesen made a point of going into the home dressing room afterwards to commend Mauritius on their display.
YOU MIGHT recall earlier in the week four players were flown over from England to train with Mauritius and, hopefully, play some part against us. That came true for Vissen Appadu, who came on as sub for the home team, but even more so for Ray Beeharry and Eric Johnson, who were named on the Spurs bench as a good-will gesture. Safe to say they loved their night as Spurs players!
FRIDAY’S game completed the serious business of the tour and Saturday saw the first group depart back for the UK, including the likes of international-bound Michael Carrick, Jermain Defoe, Andy Reid, Robbie Keane, Stephen Kelly and Chris Hughton.
FOR THE rest, it was a chance to relax and the sight of the day had to be tour kitman Terry Agambar giving water-skiing a go — and coming it up trumps. Tel must have had second thoughts as young whippersnapper Kieran McKenna struggled to get going for more than a few yards but with his fetching pink life jacket on, Terry overcame a disastrous belly flop of a first attempt to glide gracefully on the water second time around. Well done Tel!
LATER on and it was time to take the locals on again at beach football, a six-a-side encounter as the sun set over the island (sorry). I’m glad to report this was a resounding success and a 2-0 victory thanks to goals from marketing manager and man-of-the-match Fran Jones and Clive Allen.
SUNDAY saw our last official engagement of the tour with the running of the Tottenham Hotspur Souvenir Cup at Mauritius Turf Club. Founded in 1812, this is one of the oldest racecourses around. So many things on Mauritius take your breath away and this was no exception as the course sits bustling away with punters overlooked by a huge mountain range. As a picturesque setting, it must rival any course in the world - you can see it in all its glory below. Our race was race four of the first meeting of the year at the track with the feature the 79th running of the Duchess of York Cup. The Tottenham Hotspur Souvenir Cup was won by a horse called Fashion Editor, number seven, ridden by R Joorawon (pictured going over the line below and right with Head Coach Martin Jol). Everyone had been fed tips all day but, suffice to say, few of our party came out on top. Rumour had it that Anthony Gardner had done well, Martin Jol certainly had a few winners while there was no stopping Press Officer John Fennelly and tour kitman Terry Agambar, who should open their own tipping service after their success!