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Thursday, July 19, 2007

TDH live in Lilongwe, and more!

After a few football-less days, TDH went live in Lilongwe, Malawi, along with the eponymous Mara and a new adherent whom we'll call Menguinha. The occasion: an Argentine-style barbecue followed by the final of the Copa America. Suffice it to say that The American Geordie enjoyed the choripanes, asado de tira and lomo more than the match. But Menguinha was jumping around and blurting out Brazilian cheers while making fun of the Portuguese commentators' accents. Well, at least one of us enjoyed it.

The footballing highlight came the next day, unexpectedly, upon TDH's return to Johannesburg airport. By coincidence, the baggage from the Lilongwe flight was supposed to show up on the same belt as the baggage from Dubai. Standing right in front of TDH was a tall, olive-skinned man wearing a very tight T-shirt and pants along with some Gucci suede tennis shoes. He was blocking TDH's view of the conveyor, actually. And as TDH struggled to get a glimpse of the suitcases, the man's immigration card flashed into view along with his passport: Ali Daei, Iran.

There was no doubt - it was the holder of the world record for goals in men's international matches. TDH began shaking with excitement and then asked the legendary striker if he was on his way to Cape Town for the "90 Minutes for Mandela" match. Indeed he was, as a member of Pele's team. He graciously signed a card from TDH's wallet, and then TDH helpfully informed him that his baggage had been switched to another belt. What a thrill!

By the way, you can read the FIFA summary and the complete match report (see righthand side of the page) here. Daei apparently set up a goal for some guy named Ruud Gullit - anyone remember him?


Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

How the heck do you manage to meet so many superstars?! Ali Daei, what a legend.

And this Gullit chap, don't know much about him. But judging from his name I'd guess he was a beautiful, elegant fooballer, capable of bossing a game with his silky touch, pinpoint passing and excellent shot. I'd also hazard a guess that he played for the best club side in living memory, with only one possible rival.

Am I close?

1:38 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Hmm, that's funny, I seem to remember a round peg with dreadlocks trying to fit into a square hole somewhere on Tyneside. Yes, it's all coming back to me now, I believe he's the one responsible for the splinters in Alan Shearer's backside.... You say he was a useful footballer? I'll have to find some archival footage.

2:56 PM  

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