Micky J, coach of the Whites reflects on his team’s performance at last weekend’s 2012 Indochina Cup in Hanoi. Photo, Asha Phillips.

Micky “MJ” Johnston coached the Vietnam Swans Whites (“B”) team on the weekend at the 2012 Indochina Cup. Below is his overall perspective of the day.

Whoever said the early matches are for removing the dew hasn’t played in Ha Noi in November!  A light cloud cover created a veneer of cool as the Whites prepared to take on Cambodia in the first ICC 2012 match.  As the first ball was bounced, though, the clouds disappeared and we had the hottest weather for the whole of the day.

The weather wasn’t the only thing that was hot at ICC 2012.  The Whites and Reds had a red hot go against the visiting teams that were keen to wrest the ICC from the Vietnamese Swans’ talons.

Coaching the Whites was an absorbing challenge because we had people from all over Vietnam and the globe coming together for the first time.  Timmay came back from Hong Kong and was given free rein in the half forward line, while our curious recruit from Hue, Chris “Benjamin” Button, burst through from a centre bounce to kick a sensational left foot sausage roll.

To have someone look me in the eye at half time of the Cambodian match and say, “I reckon we’ve got this mob”, was the only half-time speech I needed to make and reflected the spirit of the players from all teams.

Our newcomers to the game from the USA, Canada and anywhere-that-considers-league/union-fashionable, such as Nick, Harry and Kurt continue to impress with their skill improvement. And Zac’s Movember effort is sure to be repeated and, hopefully, bettered next year.  Gaelic Jim kicked a couple of lovely goals roving in the forward line and Gaelic Donal proved that there is synergy in the Gaelic and Laotian languages when two people are fighting for the ball!

Thanks so much to the coaching team of Matt Townsend, Mark Stennett and Trent Mears for helping make sure my player counts were ignored so that we always had 16 on the field (I’ll never doubt you again, Kainey!).

The numbers available for the Swans created a good problem to have from a Club perspective.  The format (“A”s and “B”s) was right even though by the end of the day the Whites were a bit worn out from all the hard work with not such a great return on the scoreboard.

Even so, the boys had a genuine crack and enjoyed the day and were still able to celebrate the success of the Swans Football Club in winning the 2012 ICC.

Without the umpires, Saturday could never have been so successful.  Adam MacDonald’s and Scott Stacey’s decision making was clear and they showed their professionalism by refusing to be overawed by the occasion when awarding consecutive (deserved!) 25-metre penalties to the Whites (“B”s) at the start of our local derby against the Reds (“A”s).

When the President of Cambodia Eagles, Steve Morrish, professed his respect for the ICC at the end of the presentation ceremonies, it summed up the importance of ICC for so many people as a means of continuing to celebrate and promote this great game.