مرحبا، اسمي عبد العزيز الشامسي.
Most noble reader, I bid you a hearty welcome to the second instalment of my online diary, recording my exploits, escapades and experiences while playing for the Horus Falcons of Prague. I am Abdul-Aziz Al-Shamsi, known as “The Ace” among Falcon players and Golden League opponents, and I have journeyed from afar to become part of the one and only Golden League community!
Following my startling arrival in Prague last Monday afternoon, I made my official debut for the Falcons less than 48 hours later – in the first Golden League game of the season versus FC X-Team of Romania. And what a debut it was! I spent most of the first half in defence, in dreadful disorientation and utter bewilderment! Forty-five minutes long, I had the unpleasant feeling of gold-and-blue wasps flying past me almost incessantly, but when I talked to fellow defender Sergiy Golenko, he tried to convince me that they were actually Blue Hornets – our opponents! I thought he was pulling my leg as insects were surely not allowed to participate in the Golden League! While I was contemplating this rather intriguing piece of information, one rather vicious hornet, genus Vespa Vittorio Paturaud, flew passed me and scored for X-Team. Not my best moment of the day! I could see the “Evil One” (Ladislav Hašek) uttering dreadful curses from the dugout.
After this somewhat embarrassing moment, I was not really looking forward to going into the stadium with the team at halftime, afraid of what coach Portugal would have to say about my performance and what Hašek would do to me. When the coach laid eyes on me he started laughing so hard that soon tears were running down his cheeks. He exclaimed that it had been a very long time since the antics of a single player had brought him such amusement. I’m still not sure whether this was a compliment.
Most of the second half both teams decided to hold a pleasant picnic in midfield – until the last five minutes of the game when everyone started running from one end of the field to the other trying to score the deciding goal. Having rushed back and forth for the umpteenth time, I decided to hang around near the Hornet’s penalty area for the remainder of the game. With only seconds left on the clock I figured I could not mess up too much if I stayed out of the way of the ball. Besides, I was in an ideal position to take a much closer look at a young girl with the most beautiful of smiles. As I was contemplating my next move, I heard some team mates shouting my name and to my utter surprise became aware of the ball coming at me. “What do I do? What do I do?” – went through my head – as my feet acted out of their own accord and my left boot connected with the ball. A roar erupted in the stands and I feared I had messed up once more. From the corner of my eye I noticed the impressive figure of veteran striker Thore Kolbenschmidt bearing down on me. Before I had the chance to make a run for it the German tackled me to the ground. I still tried to get up and break free from his relentless grip, but three more Falcon players – and no lightweights at that – jumped in quick succession on my back. “This is it” – I thought – “they’ve had enough and are going to kill me! A good thing this is not being aired live on VFJ-TV!” – but instead they started hugging me. I must have looked completely dumbfounded, so Thore took my head into his big bear claws and shouted “you scored!”
I scored??? I scored!! I SCORED!!! I, Abdul-Aziz “The Ace” Al-Shamsi, proud son of Dubai, scored in my debut for the Falcons, ensuring victory for the team against the Blue Hornets of Romania. I had no idea how I managed, but when reliving the moment on DVD it almost looked like I knew what I was doing! The proudest moment of the evening was however finding my name mentioned in the Golden League overview, courtesy of the Golden League founding father!
I have been half a week in Prague and I think I’ll stick around for a while longer…
This was the Ace, still slightly baffled but having a ball, signing off.