Arsenal Gap Year Part 1 - GDM Club. Manica, Mozambique travel blog

Had a banana for breakfast with the usual roll and found out banana's don't stay fresh long here because the heat just turns them all bruised and mushy. This was washed down with a cup of cha (tea) made using the leaves of a local plant which infuses the water making it smell and lemoney like lemsip. Pingi told us it's also good for fighting malaria therefore every decent Mozambican citizen shoiuld have one.

Our first morning only training went well with us getting back to football drills and having lots of touches of the ball. We played a passing gate game in a big grid then the first 11 went and did some work with Miguel. I was paired with Chibanga and we did a triangular rotating passing drill using both feet, going one way then the other around a 3 cone layout. This progressed onto a heading and knee back drill to a stationary partner while the other moves between the 2 spare cones. The next drill was one we'd learnt at Arsenal and involved possession zones withe ball team keeping the ball and switching it to their team mates in another zone. The team without the ball must intercept it, once this occurs the roles switch.

For lunch we had Sudza and Kove and Drew went to the cobblers stall after to get his boots sown back together with the help of Lloyd. As we were waiting 2 blokes could be heard MCing 2 stalls down in an internet cafe/stall.

At half 2 we made our way to Chibanga's session with the balls and cones. On the way Pingi bought us an ice pole each which were delicious.

We reached Chibanga's training ground/rock pit on time however the coaches were late which is the norm. The kids and 4 girls were as enthusiastic as ever and we gave them the size 3 balls to play with. When Chibanga and Shishone arrived we watched them train the kids and girls for an hour. Their team was well drilled and you could see he had been working with them for a long time.

After the session Pingi had some terrible news. Rafael who is one of the club's directors and chief equipment co-ordinator had recently had a grandson who had passed away. The news was like a hammer blow and we went to his house to pay our respects and send our condolensces. We were joined by Miguel and stopped by his place located down a dirt road in a part of town we had yet to explore.

Some women were already there and we said hello exchanging plesantries as we entered. Rafael emerged and plonked his wooden 'lazy boy' chair on the immaculate lawn. After the greetings and condolensces it seems the men resorted to changing the subject. Therefore there was only one topic they were going to talk about .... yep you guessed it football.

On the way back we bumped into a few people such as a drunk avid Vumba fan (Vumba are the town rivals of GDM), Robert (the trucker) and Panashe. Wwe walked past Panashe's house which was located right opposite the other entrance/exit to the training field so no wonder he's always at training.

It had been a great day so far and we got back in time for dinner... only to find nothing prepared!

The club places the emphasis on players to develop and look after themselves so if Mama isn't here they must organize cooking a meal themselves. We actually didn't mind that there was no food, I was shattered and wanted rest. However at the last minute Maninnho scrambled to head chef position and he cooked up a marvellous dish of spaghetti and fish - obrigado chef.

Later that evening I filled in the gaps in my journal and also managed to watch and cheer on England to a 2-1 win over Denmark. I feel asleep as I wrote my diary, what abrilliant day.

Goodnight, God bless!

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