A JET-setting youth team flew the flag for Scotland as they took part in a prestigious competition in Sweden.
Lenzie Youth Club 1997 recently returned from Gothenburg where they had an amazing time competing in the Gothia Cup.
Over the seven days they played 10 games in their section – finishing in third place.
They won 4-0 against Bocham from Germany, but lost narrowly to Swedish Pro-Youth side Norrkopping 1-0 – the goal coming from a penalty.
From there Lenzie went on a great run of five wins including a 3-0 victory over a strong Finnish side, to take them through to the quarter finals – the last eight from 224 teams that started out in this age group.
They drew Hertfordshire County Select from England in their quarter-final tie and although Lenzie had more of the play they could not get the vital goal, with the game finishing 0-0 and going straight to penalties.
After five penalties, both teams were equal, but Lenzie had their seventh penalty saved and went out. Nevertheless, they played some excellent football, scored some great goals and defended well.
Although the boys were bitterly disappointed they can be proud of their performances. Lenzie went on to play two more games – achieving a 1-0 win over Chantilley (France) and another 1-0 win over Baghdad Youths from Iraq.
Lenzie built up a great relationship with the Iraqi boys and exchanged shirts with them. Also, in the school where the team were staying they formed friendships with Happy Valley from Hong Kong and a youth team from Zambia.
The Gothia aim is ‘Meet the World – Friendship through Sport’ and Lenzie achieved this.
The Zambian team were keen to link up with someone from Scotland as Dr David Livingstone is still revered there.
The Zambia boys told Lenzie a little about life in their country which is very poor. They had accepted a sponsorship from SKF – the Gothia main sponsor – to get there, but could not even afford shin pads, using cardboard instead.
Some of the Lenzie players, along with other teams, left them their shin pads.
Before the team left for home a Gothia official requested that they come back next year, as they had played good football and shown the attitude they wanted to see at the event. It is hoped Lenzie will be involved in the opening ceremony representing Scotland.
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