Oz Kanka's loooong weekend
A couple of years ago I wrote that this blog was a great way of keeping me sane. A way for me to get out my frustrations following yet another Genclerbirligi loss to some crap team. In fact the blog is pretty much a psychiatrist for me. So, following last night's 4-0 loss to Germany please let me use the psychiatrist's office that is this blog to say just one thing...
Right, that's that. More on Australia's loss later on but now onto the positive part of the post. ie the German's being wonderful hosts, the British welcoming the Yanks, and the German's yet again being wonderful hosts.
Friday night for the opening of the World Cup was looking scary. Massive thunderstorms gathered over Ankara but we still made our way down to the German Embassy for a night of great beer, music, food from all over the world and some football.
Four years ago the German's hosted a wonderful open air event for the world cup that was being held in Germany. They decided it was so good that it didn't matter where the world cup was being held, the opening party was going to be at the German Embassy.... for all world cups. All I can say is that the German's deserve to hold the opening party in perpetuity. I mean, who can argue against free beer, a massive outdoor screen, people from all over the world, the mayor of Kecioren, food provided from embassy football teams (I loved the Korean food by the way - cheers guys), a DJ playing the latest hits (which of course included the latest Eurovision winning song - which I lawv), a stand with Paulener beer, invites to all the African students in Ankara, strange hats, stupid face paint, those weird vuvuzelus, Sir Eski Kanka, and security guards who help you into your taxi for the journey home. Bloody brilliant stuff.
With all those attractions it was obvious that I didn't actually see much of the first match... and the second match is a complete blank, but I do remember South Africa's first goal, and what a goal it was, and the enormous roar that went up from all of the African students. It was truly an inspiring thing to see an entire continent (well... at least the representatives there on the night) jumping up together and hugging each other in pure joy that an African team had scored a goal. I was touched.
Sure Mexico got one back to ruin what would have been a fairy tale start... but still, it was great. The rest of the night for me... bit of a blur really.
I actually got to watch some football on Saturday as Little Oz Kanka insisted that we go to the Red Lion Club to watch South Korea v Greece. We were the only ones there, apart from a party for a group of four year-olds. Little Oz and myself sat at the bar watching the football as some bloke in an unconvincing Batman outfit tried to entertain the kiddies. I have no idea why they didn't get rid of that idiot, get the big screen out, and start explaining the intricacies of the offside rule. Bugger Batman.... This is the WORLD CUP!
Above the screaming of the little darlings we did manage to watch a half decent game. ie the Korean half was decent, the Greeks were as boring as hell. Back home but back for the big match of the day: Britanya versus America.
What a great night. The Red Lion had invited a whole heap of Yanks and quite possibly the English might have been outnumbered. It was also great to see a pretty much equal number of boys and girls.
National anthem time and first up we got the dirge that is God save the Queen. Nothing against the Queen but it is a God-awful song. At least it is over in 30 seconds unlike God Save America which goes on forever and unless you have a soprano voice is impossible to sing. That didn't stop the Yanks though and they all stood, hand on heart, and made us all thankfull that the USA doesn't qualify to take part in Eurovision.
Peep, peep and England score in a couple of minutes. Much mirth from the English contingent and it looked like we could be seeing a massacre. USA! USA! USA! held on though and we all know what happened when England's goalkeeper spilled. (I quite liked Haber Turk's headline on the matter the next day. "ABD'ye 'Yesil' kart" - somewhat spoiled though with them then explaining the pun on the England goalkeeper's name - much like what I've just done now).
It was the Yanks who were obviously happier than most with the result (as well as the Welsh, Scots, Aussies etc) but all up what a great night. I even met a genuine Turkish celebrity, not that I knew it though. If you can think of someone who has won the Turkish equivilent of a BFI award and then imagine me asking them "So, what do you do?", you might have the picture. We then argued about my Turkish and stuff and how her not having a proper job at this particular moment was quite similiar to my situation. French Kanka thought I was playing the whole "meeting a genuine Turkey-wide celebrity" rather coolly (after all I am a cool sorta guy), until she realised I genuinely didn't have a clue that the person I was talking to was a genuine celebrity. Yeah, whatever.
Sunday (The day of shame)
It all started well enough with a phone call from Spine at 11 am telling me that the breakfast he had invited the Oz Kanka family to was not going to start at 11 am thanks to the fact that he and French Kanka had only just woken up having been out clubbing with their celebrity friend (see above) until the early hours of Sunday morning. Which was lucky really as I'd completely forgotton that Little Oz Kanka had been invited to a birthday party. So off we trudged to the birthday party and I heroically refused to have a beer until the clock struck 12 midday.
Off to Spine and French Kanka's house for "breakfast" at 1 pm ... mmmm bacon and pork sausages.... and then back home and time to find where the hell was my Wallabies rugby shirt (I don't own any actual Aussie footy shirts).
We managed to get about 15- to 20-odd Aussies to show up (a number which includes ring-ins such as Flying Dutchman Kanka, Galata-spit-saray supporter Ilker and even German Chris - whom I managed to get an Aussie flag tattoo attached to the top of his bald head). It was all high spirits, and when we almost scored in the first few minutes it was one of those nights when you think the impossible might happen.
All hope though was lost by about the 7th minute-mark when all of us Aussie supporters realised we had a crap team, playing with crap tactics, clearly coached by an absolute idiot who was playing players out of position. There is no shame in losing to Germany, but to lose like this was embarrassing. At about this stage I received a text message from Spine saying "4-6-0. Now that's a formation to be proud of!"
Not only were we seriously rubbish, the referee then decided to send off the only player who might possibly score in our remaining matches; not that we have any chance of beating Ghana or Serbia unless half of the Spanish team find out in the next couple of days that they have Australian grandmothers and decide to defect. Even then our idiot of a coach will play them out of position.
It was truely dire stuff, but luckily the magical powers of beer kicked in and we were able to thank our wonderful hosts for watching us die in front them. Big, big, big ups to the German Embassy for having us last night. We hated the football, but loved the night.
So, for us Aussies, it will be Saturday night at the Red Lion Club. Everyone is invited of course. 5pm KO. Can we rise from the dead? I doubt it. But remember there is always an Efes to cry into.