Abidal, you beauty

2013-04-08 15:43

Sometimes beautiful things make you want to cry. Saturday night I got to see one.

Granted, I had to close one eye to see properly, being somewhat off my face. But see it, I did.

JahNoDead and I land at his spot.

The brother lives smack bang in the middle of the Jozi CBD.

It’s a mad part of the city. There are cats selling false teeth around the corner. We’re relatively hammered.

I’d been hanging with him since getting handed my ass at the Taco Kuiper investigative journalism awards on Friday afternoon.

Bad start to the weekend, but what can one do? Not winning did provide a good reason for a crazed piss-up.

We’d been at it since with some help from the Blankman and the Ghenginator. Those two bastards are evil.

I flip the TV on. Barcelona are busy gutting Mallorca. My man Ces Fabregas is on a hat-trick. Barca are imperious.

There’s about 20 minutes left in the game. The Camp Nou is on fire. Then there’s this silence.

Eric Abidal, one of the truly decent men of football, is standing on the touchline.

Abidal’s been a massive contributor to Barca’s success in some very hard times. He’s legit.

It’s been 402 days since his last appearance. The man’s been undergoing treatment for cancer and a liver transplant.

Somehow’s he’s pulled through. Jordi Roura, who’s standing in for Tito Villanova, himself just back in Spain after treatment for cancer in the US, pulls off Gerard Pique.

The entire stadium stands up and applauds in unison. It’s a magic, beautiful moment. There’s this massive show of respect and love.

This is what football is supposed to be about.


I’m all wet-eyed for the rest of the game. It’s hard not to be. Every time Abidal touches the ball, there’s this roar of approval.

Lucky the lights are off.

The next thing I know it’s time to crawl off the couch. JahNoDead does a newspaper and milk run.

Time to gird the loins. There’s a big lunchtime fixture – a session with the Ghenginator and the rest of the horde at The Radium.

The Radium’s banging. It’s a real Joburg icon. It’s been selling beer since 1929. Respect.

I open the paper. I’m looking for images of the Abidal moment. No such luck. What do I get?

Some nutter of a Chiefs fan lashing the ref in the middle of the pitch. With a vuvuzela. Nice.

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