A Suárez whose boot is better than his bite
Saturday. The Croc and I are hanging around waiting. Again. This time it’s not for the Commander in Chief or His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini.
This time, we’re lurking on the side of Dumisani Makhaye Drive in Durban waiting for a muppet who wandered off with our accreditation for the Under-19 football tournament.
Needless to say, we’re a little angry. We’ve just driven from Bergville to pick up our tags and are running late.
Factor in the fact that it’s my first match report in my new career as a footie writer and the swearing that Jim Henson’s vile spawn receives on the roadside turns out to be pretty brutal.
Tags retrieved and we’re back on the move.
We make it to Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu in time for the 3pm kickoff. Only just. The KZN XI vs Boca Juniors academy side. Scelo Qwabe’s team is decent, but Boca are too good for them. Put one in from a short corner on 30 minutes. Soak up the pressure in the second half and put in the finisher.
Boca have this youngster called Leonardo Suárez.
Suárez terrorises the KZN defenders until he’s subbed just before 90 minutes. Puts in the second goal while he’s at it. Manages not to bite anybody or hurl racist insults.
This Suárez is gonna be something special.
I’m scribbling notes every time somebody kicks a ball. Or makes a tackle. There’s no big screen, so I’m battling to keep time.
The sun in my eyes doesn’t help. I’m squinting between notebook, team sheet and laptop while trying to watch the game.
By the time 90 and four extra are up, I’m finished. My head is spinning. This is hard work. Far harder than writing politics. Or muck-raking. There’s no speech, no recorder, no TV feed, no slow-mo. I hit send. We’re done. I don’t know how I feel. Part of me is stoked that I’ve made my debut and managed not to make too much of an ass of myself. I hope.
And there’s something cool about being an old dog and learning new tricks.
Another part of me is sad that football has become work. I’ve always managed to keep the two apart.
Then again, if things carry on like this, maybe I’ll end up lying around on the beach and smoking herb and writing about it.
One lives in hope.
YOUNG BLOOD Boca Juniors’ Leonardo Suárez