City's head of communications Adam Baker is with the team in South Africa and Botswana for the club's pre-season tour and will be providing supporters with regular blogs.The day had finally arrived for our first match day on tour.
After a gruelling week in South Africa where the players were put through their paces twice - sometimes thrice - a day, the training has understandably been a little less in Botswana.
We enjoyed a couple of hours at the National Stadium yesterday for training, but today we headed back for the real thing.
Extension Gunners were the opposition. They finished tenth in the Botswana Premier League and are busily preparing for the forthcoming 2014/15 campaign.
The crowd was modest as it’s a Bank Holiday here in Botswana, which unlike the UK is traditionally when families leave Botswana or head into the outer villages.
That said, the Gunners supporters still made a lot of noise and we were pleased to see the guys from the Community Trust donning their City shirts to support the team here in Africa.
The pitch was bobbly which disturbed the pattern of the game somewhat.
Chances were few and far between in the first 45, aside from Sam Baldock’s near post finish on 14 minutes to open the scoring. It all stemmed from a terrific tackle from Luke Freeman, who passed the ball on to his former Arsenal colleague Jay Emmanuel-Thomas. Once Sam was in the clear, there was no stopping him.
After the break Sam was on hand again, this time from just a couple of yards out, to finish off a goal dedicated to the hard work and skill of the tenacious Mark Little.
Aden Flint put the icing on the cake with a headed goal, powering home Luke Freeman’s corner kick. Flinty almost went one better near the end with a scissor kick that stung the keeper’s palms.
It’s fair to say there were some tasty tackles in the match, some worse than others, and as Karleigh Osborne suffered a shin injury at the end, it was probably the right time for the referee to blow for full time.
At least Sam Baldock got to lift our first silverware of the season; the Friendship Cup. Quite how we’ll fit it in the suitcase coming back to England, I’m not sure.
Highlights from the game can be found on our YouTube channel, plus an interview with Steve Cotterill.
It turned out our view from the “gantry” at the National Stadium - aka the roof - was tremendous, if a little daunting. The camera remained on steady ground as I filmed, ably assisted by Rachel Lemar, who tweeted regular updates for fans back home. We have to do it all over again on Thursday, in the dark of night. Eek.
I’ll write again soon!