Soon we will see the Sharks take on the Leopards and the Pumas in pre-season friendlies. Now it’s probably reasonably safe to assume that John Plumtree will play his second string players against the men from Potch, and the big boys against the Pumas. For obvious reasons I am really looking forward to the Pumas match as I will be there to witness and report on what went on in the game.
As a man from Nelspruit I actually do like the Pumas; they are full of heart and courage. They always seem to play at 100% and even thou their execution is not always the best, they do give it their all. They also have a really good coach in Jimmy Stonehouse, a man whom I have met on numerous occasions. He is one of those coaches that really inspires the players in his squad. That makes this so called “friendly” not as flowery as it sounds, the Pumas will not hold back and for me that is a really good thing. One of the best ways to prepare for any season is to play a side that has acres of passion for the game, and we all know the Pumas can be a physical in their style of play.
When I was still playing the game the most gruelling part of pre-season was to get tackle fit again, and there is no better way than to play a game or two before your first match. Not only does it get rid of some rustiness, it also gives your body a good lesson in physical punishment. Of course injuries before you start your season are a concern, but to be fair they are always a concern as even in normal training players get injured.
The magic of these pre-season games is that you get a chance to tweak certain areas of your squad, whether it be tactics, game plan, player combinations and sometimes even moving a player to a new position. It also gives you a chance to see how your young players have reacted to all their off season training, and that is what I am looking forward to. We have all seen the older guys play hundreds of times, but these new lads always bring something new to cheer about, something special. It’s human nature to look forward to new things, it’s in our nature to look for something different, something new to talk about or shout about.
We all know that these friendly games mean nothing on the score board, and can sometimes be really boring to watch, but maybe we should all look at the smaller details in these games, those little magic moments that stand out and make us cheer, even if it’s just in our heads or our hearts.Tweet