The Milan Derby? Passe.
FA Cup at Wembley? Old news.
Champions League rematch? Meh.
Futuristic World Cup wherein Australia are favourites and Texas breaks away from the USA and learns to play football? Realm of fantasy.
No, this clash between two up and coming nations took place at the Asian Youth Games in Nanjing, China wherein Karter took on Timor Lesty!
What? How have you not heard of these burgeoning powerhouses? For shame, good reader, for shame!
Allow me to spin the tale of the burgeoning footballing might of Karter and Timor Lesty.
It started after dinner at a new Mexican place in Nanjing, CWB and I opted to amble back to the college rather than catch a bus or taxi, at the corner of Shanghai Lu and Zhujiang Lu, the bright lights of a once decaying stadium shone bright, cutting through the perpetual dust of the Nanjing night. Curious, we crossed the road to check out the arena.
Climbing the steps where a year previous the male teachers from my school came to drive golf balls in an abandoned, derelict, decaying stadium, it certain received a facelift in the past 12 months. Canvas tents stood above admission gates staffed by eager volunteers. Slightly wary we approached the ticket booth to inquire about the price of entering to see whatever happens to be going on. Turns out we missed the first game but for a staggering 15 quai… ($2.50) we can catch the second game in the U14 boys round robin football matches at the games.
$2.50 for this sort of random occurrence? We spend more on a drink in 1912 (night club district) and that rarely lasts 90 minutes.
Most of the announcements are in Chinese (as they should be) but the MC gamely attempts to pronounce the countries in English… turns out Karter and Timor Lesty are in fact Qatar and Timor Leste. SInce I’m with an Aussie on the Road, clearly we choose to support Timor Leste than the country that bribed FIFA for the 2022 World Cup.
We are alone in our support, as the scattered few throughout the stands seem solidly behind Karter. Either John Carter (of Mars) played much better in China than in the West, or it is a mild case of racism once more, as the Timor Leste players sport a distinctly darker skin tone than do the boys from the Middle East.
Not that it matters, as the outside defenders for Karter are so tiny that the strapping lads from tiny Timor Lesty run around, through and over them at will. It is a near perpetual wave of red and I’m sure the Karter keeper will be having nightmares about it for years. Particular dangerous is the Timor Lesty’s left wing striker, he goes by his defender so frequently he uses the kid as a merry-go-round.
At the half (35 minutes halves at this age group), CWB and I explore the refurbished grounds, the most telling thing other than the lack of fans has to be the lack of refreshments. The only thing available is water… and its free. China, you have a lot of learn about gouging captive audiences of their money.
Come on Nanjing. Next year you intend to host the Youth Olympics and lemme tell you, as a volunteer at the 2010 Winter Games you are going to need to have refreshment and souvenir stations every other step. Although, I fully expect Nanjing to fail in an epic manner when it comes to its first time on the big stage. The whole city is in a state of construction and looks uglier than usual, which is saying something as Nanjing is not a pretty ville.
The second half starts and while the locals continue to inexplicably root for the World Cup buying Karters, CWB and I entertain ourselves as Timor Leste continues to dominate by starting up our own chant with an assist the to English translator.
“Timor Lesty” *Clap Clap Clapclapclap*
“Is the Besty” *Clap Clap Clapclapclap*
Ah, how we amuse… us.
At the end of this monumental struggle between to blossoming U14 Footballing nations, the overmatched World Cup stealing boys from Karter fell to the highly skilled and super sized boys from Australia supported Timor Lesty by a score of 3 or 4 to nil…
and at least two of the 200 hundred fans went home happy…
or to the bar.
Most likely the bar, to regale friends with the match just witnessed on the reconsecrated grounds of Wutaishan Stadium.
(Now with 99% less golf balls.)