Soccer mania hits hotel

2010-05-31 00:00

WOODRIDGE Country Hotel and Spa was abuzz on Saturday as the host community held a “Soccer Mania” tournament ahead of the keenly awaited arrival of the Paraguayans.

Woodridge showcased its readiness for the Paraguayans, inviting the team’s management and local residents to the tournament.

Locals welcomed their visitors by doing the Diski Dance, blowing vuvuzelas and playing soccer.

Alistair McGlashen, owner of the Woodridge Country Hotel and Spa, described the Soccer Mania tournament as a mini football world cup. “It was great; the girls were screaming while the guys were blowing the vuvuzelas.”

Woodridge Country Hotel and Spa is about to go into a month-long shutdown to protect the privacy of its VIP soccer guests — the Paraguayan national and under- 21 teams — and their entourage.

“We decided that it would be great to get the midlands’ locals into the spirit of the World Cup, seeing as there’s a team staying here in their midst for a month,” said Shelley Herbst of Woodridge.

Notice of Soccer Mania day was enthusiastically welcomed, with teams signing up from the neighbouring country lodge, Granny Mouse, the Midlands Meander Association, an all-girls team and the Balgowan All Stars. They arrived kitted out in colourful football gear, with cheering groupies and vuvuzelas, said Herbst.

She added, “Casting an interested eye over the football action were the forerunners of the Paraguayan delegation — the team administrator, chef and the coach of the under 21 team — who were amazed to see such passion and hell-for-leather action for what were supposedly fun games.”

Players and visitors were invi­ted to sign welcoming messages for the Paraguayans on a specially prepared wall, while football paraphernalia adorns the hotel reception and dining rooms, and flags line the winding driveway.

Throughout the village of Nottingham Road are signboards welcoming the Paraguayan team.

Guests were given basic lessons in Spanish and all the staff have been learning key phrases and words for the past few months.

Perhaps the only word locals need to know is are thoseprinted on the back of the Woodridge teams’ T-shirts: “Rojaijiu Paraguay” or “Welcome Paraguay!”. That says it all.

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