Despite putting in a spirited effort to send off their President in style, the Lao Elephants were unable to stomp home from the 2010 Indochina Cup as Kings of the Mekong.
One a hot, humid, Saigon day this year’s Indochina Cup was competed by the Vietnam Swans, Thailand Tigers, Cambodian Corbras and the Lao Elephants.
Keen to replicate their success in the 2008 tournament and put behind them the horrors of the 2009 tournament, the Lao Elephants fielded their strongest line-up since their previous match. While a number of changes were made, with inclusions such as Dinkles Handley, Sly Si, Boom Boom, Ferrari and Tricky, the ‘Phants only managed one win from their three matches.
Starting the day against the Thailand Tigers, the ‘Phants were licking their trunks in anticipation. Not since the Road Runner vs Coyote has a rivalry been as one-sided as the ‘Phants’ domination of the Thailand Tigers. At the Asian Champs. With the Boris Beanpole starting in the ruck and a midfield combination of Tricky, Langas and Snakes the ‘Phants quickly asserted their dominance, gathering loose-ball gets, winning the contested footy and peppering the forward line with quality delivery. While the quality of the delivery was not always michellin starred, the sheer amount of ball entering the forward line allowed the ‘Phants to register a healthy lead to half-time, which was improved on during the second quarter. Special mention to newbie Jon VIS who registered three goals on debut. A strong effort was also registered by the ‘Phants backline who managed to repel the few Tiger forays forward. The ‘Phants are 1-0
The second ‘Phants match of the day was against the Cambodian Cobras. While the Cobras had come out hard during their match against the Vietnam Swans, they were obviously intimidated by the size and ferocity of the ‘Phants line-up. In a tough, physical, bruising encounter between the glamour team of Asian Football and the new kid on the block it is best to forget about the score. I certainly don’t remember it. Despite solid efforts from Sly Si, Dinkles, Tricky and Tony down forward the Elephants may have possibly, maybe, not quite won the match. But I can’t be sure. Phants are 1-1
In a match to decide the eventual winner of the Indochina Cup the Lao Elephants were up against their arch-rival and illegitimate brother, the Vietnam Swans. If the Elephants were able to win by over 50 points they could walk away with the cup and claim supremacy over their post-colonial brothers. Could they do it? Could they bring home the cup and shower the fatherland with pride? This is another question i’m not quite sure of the answer to.
In tropical rain, with the temperature hovering around 58 degrees celsius the ‘Phants were able to go to the half-time break of the final match in the lead. With Boris and Pauly asserting their dominance in the ruck, Tricky proving why he is the most damaging midfielder in Asian football and Ferrari providing plenty of run off the backline the ‘Phants were in with a chance of knocking off the Swannies.
As the second half began the crowd was clearly behind the ‘Phants, but the Swannies had stepped up their attack on the ball a notch. With ‘Phants falling down left right and centre due to cramps and injury the Swan’s superior numbers (a team list which had an estimated 57 players) began to play its part. While the ‘Phants fought hard they were unable to hold back the surging flock of Swans as they registered their third win of the day and went/stayed home with their first ever Indochina Cup.
As always the ‘Phants fought hard for the Pink and Grey and walked away with heads held high. Notable performances were from Langas (in his last match as President), Ferrari, Boris, Pauly, Simon, Dinkles, Jon, Tricky, Hoff and Snakes. The recruits from the backpacker district the night before also proved worth their weight in gold as Nick, Paul, Michael, and anyone else I can’t remember the name of, played blinders.
With the presentation of the Cup to the victorious Coach and Captain from the Swans by the Australian Consul General in Saigon the celebrations for the tournament could begin.
A big thanks to the Vietnam Swans who put on a terrific tournament, the best one yet. Despite having half the population of Vietnam on their squad list, they were great hosts and have set the bar extremely high for next year’s Indochina Cup, which will be hosted by the Lao Elephants in Vientiane.
The Lao Elephants would also like the send a big thanks to Langas for the service he has done for the club. In a year of milestones for the club, Langas has been leading the charge and we are stoked he will still be able to play a role in our future activities.
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