Sunday, May 09, 2004

Friday afternoon I walked for half an hour to the Tibetan Children's Village to meet with the head of the Tibetan National Football Team. Had seen a sign up in town, asking for foreigners who could help out. Thinking I might be able to spare some time, dreaming of international football management, I decided just to turn up. I found his office pretty easily, alongside the school administration offices.

School administration? Yup, the guy is an ex-PE teacher who, through the efforts of a Danish football enthusiast who passed through Dharamshala in 1999, is now in charge of the 'national' football team. He shook my hand, sat me down at his desk and took me through some background. So far they've played one international, in Denmark, against Greenland. They lost 4-1 - went 1-0 up but conceded 3 goals in the last 7 minutes. The fitness is really lacking, I was told. They completed that tour with a 2-1 loss to Monaco and a 5-1 victory over Zurich. They're entering a new phase now, planning to play teams in India and also to gather talented kids from Tibetan kids around the country, grooming them for a better, stronger Tibetan squad. All this has the blessing of the Dalai Lama, but it's hardly national priority number one.

Unfortunately, my managerial career is probably going to have to wait. He's really looking for qualified referees or coaches. Or money. I said I'd help him publicise by putting a few 'wanted' notices up in town. I think he only had one up and it wasn't exactly eye-catching. I've put the ad together now and emailed it to him. You never know - he might change his mind and incorporate me into a two-tiered continental style management team.

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