Having rocked up in Pune, India to find a squad on holiday and no competitive football for at least four months, our intrepid manager has been spending some time getting to know his squad with hilarious results…
Climax. His name is Climax. I wish I was making this up for comedic purposes but I’m really not. His parents looked at him at birth and thought, “he looks like a Climax”. Poor kid.
After spending the first week of pre-season laughing at poor Climax *sniggers*, I set about improving the squad. A quick browse of the transfer list brought Kenyan full back Curtis Osano to my attention and I paid £9,000 of real money to buy another human. Still it seems a shrewd move considering one of our other right backs, Srikanth Ramu, told me he only played third slip in the field. Transfer listed.
My next port of call was to get a striker that might score some goals. Another browse brought me to the hilariously named Bruce Djite of Adelaide United. I snaffled him up on loan, partly to score goals but mostly to make really bad Djite puns if we’re terrible. Then, in a complete vanity signing, I managed to lure the actual, real Alessandro del Piero to Pune! I’ve decided to retrain him as a deep lying playmaker mostly because he’s incapable of any kind of physical movement at 40 and partly because I just want to show everyone who’s boss.
Also, think of the hilarity that will ensue when the match report reads, “del Piero to Climax”. Amazing.
Still, I hastily arranged some friendlies against what seems to be the Indian equivalent of pub teams and we smashed them all in a shower of glorious free-scoring fun. Rather annoyingly though, my new assistant told me he’d cancelled one because it clashed with our Durand Cup fixtures.
Yeah, turns out that India runs a totally random cup competition for random sides at the end of October and we were taking part. Wonderful. I was told nothing of this but when I saw the draw we got, I was sure we would smash our way to victory. That was until second tier Shivjians smashed top flight Aizawl FC 4-0 in the other group game.
Still, they wouldn’t be any match for Djite and del Piero. Until Djite got the flu conveniently before the game. Great. And then we had no centre backs either meaning that 16 year old Climax Rehman had to start in defence. Even better. And then we went behind after eight minutes. We equalised almost instantly, Syed Shoaib Ahmed proving to me he might actually be able to kick a ball after all. We proceeded to batter Shivjians for ages, chance after chance gone begging. Then del Piero twisted his ankle and didn’t fancy it anymore and The Great Khali’s translator Ranjan Singh got sent off for a professional foul. And we drew 1-1.
Which meant we had to smash Aizawl by four goals at least to go through. So with a patchwork team just hours after the last game, we battered our top tier rivals and drew 0-0. And we were out. Two competitive draws and we were out. Turns out we were supposed to win the bloody thing. News to me.
AND THEN THEY ALL WENT ON HOLIDAY AGAIN!
Indian football is weird. Still, I’ve signed an Indian boy who can kick a ball called Sonam Bhutia. He arrives in January. For now, I’m going to spend my time enjoying the park cricket team I’ve joined with Ramu. Turns out he’s actually a pretty decent third slip.
Until next time.