In your own words : Gunners FC

  • 02-11-2012

    Gunners FC submit their South Africa tour report...

    The Royal Artillery Football Club embarked on an epic sports tour to South Africa on the 8th of October. Read on to hear about their tour straight from the horse's mouth.

    "Our thanks go to the RAI,ASL and Berlin Trust for support in funding this tour, thanks also to Teamlink Sports Tours for supplying our training clothing for the tour. Thanks also to Commanding Officers that regularly release players and support on a continued basis, and finally to Captain Jan Humphrey (Boss) and his coaching team in making this a once in a lifetime experience happen."

    A strange sight greeted the Ajax staff and players when they looked across the training fields at Ikamva yesterday.

    The “Gunners” arrived and ran out for their first training session of their pre-season tour and no, it’s not that team from London but rather the team of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, said the ex Liverpool Keeper Sanders Westervelt (currently playing for Ajax Cape Town)

    The Gunner football team went on tour to South Africa (Cape Town) from 8-16 October 2012, as part of the master plan to win the Inter Corp Massey league, last won by the Gunners over 15 years ago which quite clearly is not good enough. After a grueling overnight flight with a change at J’Burgh the 22 man squad finally arrived in Cape Town where they were met by Bill White a member of the Cape Field Artillery who kindly acted as a tour guide for our stay.  After settling into the Cape Town Lodge and a quick tour of the mean streets of Cape Town the squad settled down for a much deserved rest. Day one saw us arrive and conduct a 3hr training session at Ajax Cape Town with Table Mountain as a backdrop and the sun shinning could life get any better, what a way to prepare for our first game against the Cape Town All-Stars. We arrived at the Township of Gugulethu to be greeted by a large and eager group of children desperate to meet the Gunner football team once inside the football compound we were a little alarmed to see the metal gates slam close behind us “Welcome to Cape Town”. After a great game the Gunners ran out 3-1 victors.

    Wednesday saw a wine tasting evening at the Castle of Good Hope the historical home of the Cape Field Artillery where the lads tasted the local Stellenbosch wines and swapped tails with the CFA, we later found out that Capt Jan Humphrey had a long ongoing affiliation with the CFA stretching back some ten years which clearly laid the ground for an exceptional evening which saw Col Kees De-Hann OC of the CFA presented with a framed Gunner football cap.

    Helping the local Community was one of the aims of the tour this was achieved by a visit to Langa township the oldest and one of the biggest in Cape Town population 250,000.The day started with a visit to Swellengrebel school (a school for children with (HDS) the squad took part in the school fun day- blindfolded wheelbarrow racing and bungee running on a 100ft wet tarpaulin were just a few games, it was great to see children and Gunners actually having fun without the usual H&S issues.

    A visit to the local kindergarden where the majority of the children had lost parents to HIV certainly brought a tear to a few eyes; well I presume that’s why sunglasses were hastily put on inside the building while the infants were performing a welcome dance. After the lads donated an array of books and colouring pens it was off to conduct a training session with the kids from Langa. On arrival at the stadium the Boss saw what he thought was the changing rooms, with the cleaner sweeping up, after asking her if this was the changing rooms she quickly replied Langa style this is my home you get changed on the coach Lofty !!!. We had expected about 50 children for the training more like 250 turned up it was a great experience with the highlight being WO2 Patch Armstrong and his following of 6 adopted Langa children all dressed in Stoke City shirts that he had donated to them. Fun complete and down to business and the second game where we felt that we had committed the cardinal sin after a fantastic day of Community work by beating Citizens FC (Langa) 3 – 1, however this was cushioned when we presented them with one of our Gunner football strips, which they proudly wore straight away.

    A day off saw a visit to Fish hook bay where a recent great white shark attack tore the limb off a British tourist “anyone for a dip” the day ended with a tour of the Cape peninsular via Table Mountain.

    Monday saw our last training session at Ajax followed by an evening game at Atlantis against Jomo Powers FC another township on the outskirts of Cape Town. On arrival we found it a little strange to be playing on a pitch with corner flags white lines marked as half cricket and half football but so be it. Jomo Powers seemed fortunate in having quite a bit of training equipment at there disposal, however when this question was posed the reply was its shared and signed out to 9 teams on a rotation basis to which Captain Vance Worsley QMT 32 Regt just smiled. After a great game Jomo came out 1-0 winners, after a quick bottle of castle and a tribal dance by our hosts we were away for our final night in Cape Town prior to flying back on Tue.

    One of the other aims the Boss set out prior to this tour was to galvanise the team spirit we expected to be fully tested on our return against the Infantry on the Friday. A resounding 4-0 lesson was duly dished out and as we speak the Gunners sit proudly at the top of the table played 3 and won 3 already disposing of last years champions the REME 3-0. Since our return we have had several players called up to both the Army U23 and full squad. The tour was a fantastic way of rewarding the commitment of players that represent Gunner football on a Friday many returning home late that evening, as well as football we certainly helped in bringing a smile to the local community something that will stay with all for a life time. The future looks bright for Gunner football maybe just maybe after 15 years!!!.   

    Sports Tours to South Africa from £1298
    Cape Town has grown to become South Africa's favourite tourist destination. With attractions like the awe-inspiring Table Mountain, the infamous Robben Island and the Cape Peninsular National Park - home to an African penguin colony - it is easy to see why. Click here to find out more.


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