Friday, 13 July 2012

Football the winner in Borneo - Aussie U13 girls make friends for life

Majura U13 Tour of Kota Kinabalu, Borneo Majura FC U13s headed to Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, unsure of the opposition they would meet. But the 15 girls made many friends on and off the field with their football performances and enjoyment mixing with the local girls. Majura U13 Tour of Kota Kinabalu, Borneo Majura FC U13s headed to Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, unsure of the opposition they would meet. But the 15 girls made many friends on and off the field with their football performances and enjoyment mixing with the local girls. Former Socceroo Scott Ollerenshaw is the Borneo Sports Tour Organiser and has wonderful tour facilities set up in Kinbalu. Five Star hotel, pools, bowling alleys, restaurants, football, island adventures and much more all overlooking the South China Sea. At 13 does life get any better than this? An in-house Futsal tournament showed us the great facilities that Borneo has for Futsal, and the players were keen to get moving and working in the heat. Grace Fieg was the star of the Futsal game with Mika Leslie and Grace Maher scoring the only goals in a tight 1-1 draw. Patrick Maher filling in in goal was suitably embarrassed by his sister's dance around him for his goal! Majura FC 6 - Panampang Pandas, Borneo 0 Captain Grace Basser-Silk lead the team onto the field for the first game and the National Anthems. ACT U13 Representative Grace Maher was quick out of the blocks. The Majura no. 10 stamping her authority on the game early, leading the team forward with her anticipation, quick feet and dazzling runs. Support came fast in midfield from Eliza Baker, Mika Leslie and Grace Fieg as the Majura team remained compact and pushed high up the park. Playing 1-4-3-3 FFA, now Majura system, parents were quick to see the benefits of the policy of adopting the FFA curriculum model. Despite having girls from 6 different teams in the touring team and with only two practive games prior to leaving, the style of play didn't miss a beat as players who have learnt their roles and skills with different teams simply slotted into their position. Grace Basser-Silk was raiding down the right, Eilis Fitt had an early chance judged offside but it was Georgina Ryan-Lewis who was to score the first goal in Malaysia. A skilful run from the left saw the Panampang Pandas defenders trailing in her midst and in her unique style Georgina simply passed the ball into the net. With their tails up Majura continued to push forward. Aleka Serras, a star of the tournament, dealt calmly with any threat the Malaysians posed. Zoe Thorman, albeit not in her favoured position, showed poise, speed and aggression time and time again to thwart the Pandas surges. Rhian Baker, Gabi Tew and Maya Mokak formed an outstanding backline ensuring the door to goal was firmly shut. Keeper Ruby Gambale was rarely tested. Gerri Shillington renowned for her defensive qualities was pushed up front in this game and she was to thump home two great goals. Strong running and an eye for goal meant Shillington was a threat all game. Grace Basser-Silk finished in typical style. Latching on to a loose ball around the box she lashed it home with her right foot. There was a moment of Maher magic in the second half when the crowd lit up. Grace Maher picked the ball up just inside the opposition half and simply twisted and turned, jinking past one then another before sending a rasping shot into the net. The crowd erupted, former Socceroo Scott Ollerenshaw looked on approvingly in his air-conditioned box over looking the ground surrounded by jungle. The score finished 6 - 0 with the team showing they had a plan to adapt to the sweltry match conditions. Swim and dunk around the pool right up until kick-off and simply watch me go! It worked, despite former Chelsea FC Coach Ken Shilletto's morning motivational words "drink water and never go in the sun or pool before a game" still fresh in the parents ears at least, The second game was played at the Lidas Stadium. A 25,000 seater and again the teams lined-up to the National Anthem. A local school team provided the opposition. It is mainly the Catholic School teams that have football teams, the Muslim girls we were told tend not to play. Players were rotated through positions with Gerri Shillington, Aleka Serras and Eilis Fitt lining up in the midfield this time. Rhian Baker, Mika Leslie and Anna Crompton started up front. Grace Maher and Grace Basser-Silk were to play 2 and 5, defence turned into attack. At least that was the Coaches plan! This proved a much tougher game with the Borneo team able to put more pressure on the ball and a few older girls in the opposition team. Majura quickly got into their stride despite changes in playing roles. Mika Leslie had a couple of great moves inside the box with the keeper pushing away. Gerri Shillington showed she is so much more than a forward - adapting to midfield and the hot conditions to control and play some great forward passes. Grace Fieg continued to link well with her team mates, despite carrying an injury; she pushed hard to win the ball back for her team. Aleka Serras opened the score in typical style. A wonderful rising shot bursting the back of the net. Rhian Baker yesterdays defender now star striker, scored two, one a wonderful first time shot which gave the keeper no chance. Anna Crompton wasn't about to miss out. Last years Kanga Cup goal scoring winner notched another here and the game ended 5 - 0. We had options to test ourselves against U13 or U 12 boys teams - but the girls are tested in their Canberra leagues every week. Few are in table topping teams. The group decided it would be more enjoyable, in Borneo, to mix the teams up and play with the Panampang Pandas, the local team. And so the third game saw both teams mixed up with a 3-1 and a much tighter outcome the result. Interestingly the Malaysian players passed the ball and looked better for it when playing alongside the technically more adept Aussies. For the record Maya Mokak scored her first goal of the tour. Georgina Ryan-Lewis placed another shot calmly inside the post after a typically jinking run. Grace Maher sent the surrounding jungle wild once more. Her mesmerising run beating five players in a tight space and then slotting the ball home sent the watching school children into ecstasy. They had seen something special from this Aussie in Borneo. There were time for photos, address exchanges and of course Facebook new besties! Today the football is over and it's time to head to Manduran island. Para-sailing, Snorkelling and Banana Boat rising are hot on the agenda of all the girls. With five star accommodation overlooking the South China Sea, the players have been astonished to swim in warm water, amazed at the all you can eat breakfasts and lunches - did someone mention the 10 desserts on offer each meal - the pools have been in constant use as the Aussie girls lap up the trip of a lifetime. Football and friendship in a foreign country........a moment to savour.

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