Honk Kong. The oriental pearl. The skyscraper city. It loves its winners. Losers don’t belong. The Bintangs were on a losing streak that stretched way back to Malaysia in April. Game 1 was close, but the “Tangs hadn’t been their chances when the game was in the balance. Maybe the Bintangs didn’t want it enough anymore. The hunger perhaps had gone.
Reputations were on the line and only 9 tourists stood in the way.
He’s known as the bloke who never misses a tour. He’s the recipient of dual coach’s awards.
He lays more tackle than he lays beds. He goes by “The Prowler” and here he delivers a masterful piece of journalism.
Prowler reviews game 2 of the Jakarta Bintangs to Hong Kong.
DOS, acting captain, acting tour coach, acting tour Pres, acting tour fashion director and acting good bloke, gathered the boys together in the shade of the stands.
He must have looked at same of the faces and saw bowed heads, he must have known he didn’t have the cattle. No Jolly, no Bray, no Big Tom, no Stew, no Smithy, no Butcher & no water tips from the Wizard. None of the normal “go to blokes” to fire it up. The most credentialed player was Prowla, with two coach’s awards for his attendance record. Donkey was a runner up in the BJ. DOS was best club man. It must have looked like slim pickings.
But where others may have saw ugly, like Top gun at 4am, DOS only saw beauty. He didn’t focus on the lack of skills, smarts, he didn’t point at the weakness of the individual. He saw the positive, he focused on the total team. He issued a few simple instructions to each player. Forwards. Raphy, make your huge body a huge target. Chris USA, flood the middle and make a contest. Mids. Stretch, Prowla, grunt work. Get the ball to the ground, get inside the packs, get the footy and get it to the silky skills of DOS, Michael and the mercurial HQ. Backs. Navy Kevin, wear your man like a white navy linen suit. Donkey, back yourself, wear your bucket hat if you want. Pitches, get dangerous, you have been smashing it at training, now it’s for real.
1st Half. Hong Kong hadn’t read the script. A few early goals jumped the “tangs, Raphy was off with an elbow to the head and the crowd was starting to boo the “tangs every time they got close to the ball. Punters started to tear up their betting slips. But just when the most sensible footy judges had turned on the Swans V Crows game for better action, something happened, it started to click at the HKFC. Maybe it was a 2nd effort, or a word from DOS, but after 5 minutes of tough, physical, energy sapping, contested play, the “tangs stood up. They wanted it more. Tackles were made, targets were hit and some late goals were scored. Could it be? The “tangs of old were back? 2nd Half. Hong Kong had gone to the break ahead, but there were some worried faces in the crowd, the Bintangs had started to play their role. They were no longer the imperfect, singular players, but a 9 man total footballer, with all the skills. DOS calmly re-issued the same instructions, with a re-assuring pat on everyone’s bum.
HK didn’t have a chance. The Bintangs were back. Maybe some of the legends were not able to make it, but the legendary hunger for the footy had returned. The skyscraper city, the oriental pearl, the losing streak was a thing of the past, the Bintangs were back in the winner’s circle, where they belong.
Bintangs 5 3 33
Hong Kong 3 1 19
Best : BOG shared by all Goals HQ 2, Tony Macau 3
Injuries Raphy, 4 stitches to the head & a 4 hour wait at hospital.