Back into training with a bang, beginning the day on a 6k run around the surrounding area. All players felt the sun throughout each step, but all fought to finish positively and extremely sweaty- really pushing themselves and each other to new heights. After the run and straight into the high performance gym for a circuit training session. After a refuelling lunch, the players were straight out onto the pitch for an afternoon football session of set pieces. The evening consisted of another football quiz, even more competitive than the first one! The prize for the winning team was tickets to the local waterpark tomorrow. Upon completion of the quiz, with the winning team announced, we thought they needed company, so all players were told tomorrow shall consist of fun at the water park- I think you could hear the cheers back in Manchester!
The day started warm but muggy with cloud and drizzle, this wasn’t enough to stop us attending the waterpark! The Aquashow is a park consisting of water slides and roller-coasters alike. The players (and staff!) had an absolute ball and really enjoyed the opportunity to let their hair down, bond as a team and have a splash about- even if we did have goose bumps. The evening was left to free time also, down to their impressive and intense training sessions the day before. I feel tomorrow may be the toughest training day yet, in preparation for the big game on Monday. Better get some sleep lads!
Training began bright and early as usual, with the weather being cooler and cloudier than previous days. Tiredness was beginning to show, with training stepping up a gear in preparation for the big game just two sleeps away. Lots of running featured in today’s session, well it is a pre-season camp- as well as the usual set pieces and drills preparation. In the evening the FA cup final was shown and with a few keen Arsenal supporters in the team, lots of shouts and cheers were heard from our team meeting room, where it was being shown. The evening was very quiet on sight, with early night on everyone’s cards!
Last day of training here in Portugal, before the game tomorrow and excursion on Tuesday. The players felt a rush of second wind, wanting to train well and hard on their last day on the Brown’s pitch. The day started off damp and chilly, helping the players on the pitch, relieved by the refreshing air. In the afternoon, the sun made its burning appearance, really pushing the players on their last session on the pitch. After a long stretch in the studio, the player took part in a relaxation and meditation session, relaxing from head to toe and helping to sleep and unwind in their free time. The evening consisted of one to one reviews with each player and all staff. It was a touching evening, as all the team reflected on the trip, the team and how we have all bonded as one. The players are pumped and ready for the game, to deliver all they have learnt over the past couple of weeks. The team went to bed feeling stronger as a team and ready to take on the challenge of the game tomorrow.
Game day and the camp felt focused, relaxed and confident. The team began the day with an early breakfast, greeted by one of the hottest days on camp. Today was also Portuguese test day! The one hour exam was split into three parts, Portuguese general knowledge and history, translation from Portuguese into English and English into Portuguese. After an anticipated morning waiting for the results to be in, we discovered we had the highest average score ever! The star Portuguese pupil went to Peter Genicot, only losing out on one mark in the translation section. The evening’s game was played away at Imortal DC in Albufeira, at their stadium. The team thrived off the environment and enjoyed playing within a professional team. MIFA conceded a goal within the first 10 minutes, putting them behind once again from the get go. Josh Ramsden scored the equaliser soon after and MIFA become very competitive and fought back. The game carried on as cat and mouse, going 2-1 down, equalising 2-2 off Yannick Daha and finally a winning goal from Nathan Turner, meant the Portuguese Pre Season Training Camp finished on a high. The atmosphere was electric and all the players enjoyed celebrating as a team!
Well deserved rest day and time to soak up the Portuguese culture, for the final day. A trip to Faro was arranged and accompanied with our tour guide Anna, who showed us the sites in Faro not to be missed. An afternoon in a local shopping centre gave us all a chance to pick up last minutes souvenirs and gifts. The evening consisted of packing and soaking up any last minute sun before the final team meal. After dinner we had our final presentation and awards evening. The winners of our awards are as follows, ‘coolest’ player: Marin Staelhi, ‘best legs’ award: Peter Genicot, Spirit award: Edwin Obazee, Manager’s player award: Peter Genicot, Player’s player award: Josh Ramsden, most likely to be late to their own funeral: Blaise Kanga. As you can see it was a mixture of fun awards and serious ones, but all players agreed the trip had been amazing and were very sad to see it end, a few tears may have been shed! On behalf of all the staff at MIFA, we would like to thank the players for their excellent behaviour, attitude and respect throughout the whole of the trip, you are all a credit to MIFA and we are proud to have you on our team. We are looking forward to getting back into Manchester a reaping the rewards of the tough training camp.
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