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Scorcher in South Africa

Posted in England Women

To be part of the England Under-17 Development squad travelling out to Cape Town, to play in an U19 tournament is a great opportunity and we are all looking forward to an exciting two weeks ahead.

We flew from Heathrow, which was an experience for me as I have never flown from there before.

Everyone was buzzing and looking forward to going on the tour, but every adventure has to come with at least one drawback, and on this occasion it was the flight. The flight was 11 hours but seemed like 24! Alex summed it up well….. “I looked at the time and there was seven hours of the journey left, I then fell asleep, woke up to find that there was…seven hours to go!” She was not impressed.

To lighten the mood there were some extremely comical in-flight announcements. Someone had left their toupee in the departure lounge of Heathrow and then dentures were left in the aircraft toilets! We never found out if anyone owned up to retrieve either of them.

On arrival, everyone was tired and extremely stiff after the long flight. Getting off the plane and feeling the warmth of the sunshine was a relief, knowing that we have left behind cold, dull weather, and stepped into a climate of 25-30 degrees celsius.

Finding our luggage was a stress for some of the girls, but luckily it all arrived safely. Amara was quite amusing to watch as she struggled to push her trolley along a pathway. She ran into Jodie about five times, not a great way to bond with the skipper.

Even though we have only been in the country for two days, there have been times that will make the highlights package of the tour. Gary Lambert (head coach) was our acting tour guide and whilst pointing something out to one of the girls, tripped over and ended up on the floor on his hands and knees. In addition he got roped into some street performing had to copy some rather strange moves.

One of the most striking aspects of South Africa that will stay with me for a long time will be the townships.

We had driven past hundreds of small, dirty, cramped houses which really opened my eyes to another side of Africa. Sometimes you don’t really take in how other people live until you see it for yourself.

On a more positive note, some of the sites here are absolutely breathtaking. Wherever you are in Cape Town, you always have a terrific view of Table Mountain, even from the ground at Bishops School.

We can’t wait to start training over the next few days before the first match on Wednesday. The tour has started off on a major high and hopefully it will continue to get better! Playing in the heat, in South Africa, with views as great as these, what more could you ask for?

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