Archive for August, 2010
New Defenders, Old Mistakes, A New Season Nightmare

A 11.15 pm flight to the UK was a pain in many ways but at least it meant I got to see CD Tenerife start their season back in the Segunda Division at Girona on TV Canarias. What a let down it was, schoolboy errors that we thought were a thing of the past came back to haunt us.

Bar Antonio in Los Cristianos was strangely empty compared to last season for La Liga games, was it the drop in levels or the easy access this year on local TV? Anyway the terraces at Girona were also pretty sparese with just over 3,000 fans spread thinly. Hopes were high in the near 40 degree heat but after just 10 minutes David Prieto took a stupid and obvious tug on a Girona players shirt and the ref awarded a penalty that Jando easily despatched.

Surely just an early hiccup, Juanlu looked in good form down the right and hit the bar with a curving shot, Nino wasted a clear opportunity and from the resulting Girona break Luis Garcia had to charge out to deny the home side form doubling their advantage. Nino made amends with a well crafted goal after 37 minutes, he side stepped the Girona defence and blasted a strong shot straight through the mesmerised rearguard to level the scores. It was short lived, Bertran failed to cover a home break and Jando doubled his tally for a half time lead.

Tenerife started strongly in the second half, Omar saw his shot spilled by the home goalie and frantically cleared by the defence but from the corner Juanlu scooped the ball into the net with the help of a deflection. It was pretty even stuff now, Alvarez shot wide for CDT and at the other end Garcia had to block an oncoming charge. After 73 minutes former Tenerife player Kiko Raton was delighted to get his head to a corner which went in despite Garcia getting a hand to the ball.

There was worse 2 minutes later, this time the other new central defender Melli made a hash of it with a soft attempted back pass that set up peragon to kill the game at 4-2. Let’s hope we can put it down to over confidence after an encouraging pre season campaign. Looks like there will be no early domination this season for CD Tenerife, and worse still the pios won a home as well.

Drawn To The Divine Light In La Caleta

Nature has got a cheeky sense of humour, just as the sun set I joined the coastline scrum down to get photos of the climax to the Ceremony of Divine Light, and that’s exactly when the tide decided to race up the beach making our collective foot holds in the shingle pretty precarious.

The amazingly varied spectrum of cultures in Tenerife all add to making it such a special island. The Hindu Association of Tenerife South is one of the most outreaching of the groups and on Sunday they again issued an open invitation to one of their most important religious events. The Ceremony of Divine Light took place at Playa de la Enramada in La Caleta and followed a day of free yoga workshops at the El Galeon sports hall. Arriving on the mainly sandy beach, a large crowd was already gathered around the stage, some on chairs and some happily squatting down. Family groups mixed happily and many nationalities shared a sense of wonder and new understanding as the dancing and music began. The late glow of sunlight meant there were still plenty of sun worshippers and bathers taking a curious interest in proceedings.

I had been to the previous ceremony in may last year so knew a little of what to expect but still found it fascinating and uplifting. Revered spiritual leader Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji from Rishikesh in India looked on from a prime position below the stage sitting next to Mayor Fraga of Adeje. Using music and dance the story of Mother Ganga, the spirit of the river that brings life to India, unfolded with a morality tale of the pursuit of peace, love and happiness. The crowd of well over a thousand listened intently as down near the shoreline candles and lanterns were prepared for the departure of the sun. The on stage performances were given more prominence this year and the speeches that followed were shorter before the dignitaries crunched their way down to the sea.

As the candles flickered into life they were offered to many of the crowd to hold aloft and offer prayers for peace and harmony. It was a wonderful scene, a few struggled to hold their footing as the waves lapped at the sloping shingle shore and the gentle breeze added a shimmering quality to the dancing flames that illuminated the beach. It was a memorable end to a different slice of Tenerife life and will have added a new dimension to many peoples understanding of the Hindu faith.You can read more about the Hindu Association and its history at Tenerife Magazine.

CD Tenerife Present a Winning New Face

A van (well minibus) full of lean mean mercenaries scorched their way up the motorway leaving overturned cars (one in the other lane) as they headed for the big city. Okay it wasn’t quite the A Team, just some of the Armada Sur off to Santa Cruz. After a few cancellations Mallorca were eventually announced as the opponents for this last pre season friendly, the big presentation game in the Heliodoro, a good test,, and one that CD Tenerife passed with flying colours during a convincing 2-0 win.

Many of the local bars, including our usual watering hole, were closed for a summer break so we made do with one of the small shops come bar just outside the top end of the stadium. A decent sized crowd was gathering and we were full of hope, and a few doradas, as we filed into the Grada Popular. The team line up was more or less coach Arconada’s strongest pick for the new season, only a week away now, Sergio Aragoneses was still recovering from injury and Luis Garcia (below)kept the goalkeeping gloves. The big interest was in debut signing Melli at the heart of a defence that has leaked goals in the last few friendlies.

From the start the game was played at a good pace with both sides getting chances, Omar and Nino both had sniffs for CDT and Garcia was given a stern examination. In the past his handling of high balls has made us cringe but he was confident and clean in the air and made some outstanding saves. Melli looked at home and was soon bossing his defensive mates around, that’s exactly what we need, a commanding leader, Prieto looked good as well alongside him and full backs Bertran and Beranger had solid games. Just before half time Natalio made it 1-0 from a Bertran cross, a well deserved lead.

The club did the same annoying thing as the last presentation game, left the lights off on the stadium surround area behind the seats, this made negotiating the steps fun and urinating on guesswork was the order of the day in the toilets. Anyway we all made our way back to our terrace spots with wet legs and hoped for better shooting from our players. Mallorca’s new Danish coach Michael Laudrup is still tinkering with his side but they still have most of the players that earned them fifth spot in La Liga. Tenerife were playing some good football, Hidalgo looked good in midfield and when Nino banged in a rebound from his partly blocked corner, it was no huge surprise.

Mass changes followed later in the game but CDT still offered plenty and Garcia made some more impressive saves to cap his best performance for the blanquiazuls. The win was warmly greeted by the crowd of 7,897 and after eventually escaping our underground car park we had a happy trip home with DJ General supplying some hot sounds from The Human League – the sad thing is most of us knew all the words.

Melli Has A Job To Do With CD Tenerife

With perfect timing new defender Melli arrived just in time to see CD Tenerife draw 3-3 away to Segunda B side Orihuela last night. The tall 26 year old has lots of La Liga experience and after losing his first team place, all parties involved negotiated a release from his contract, leaving CDT to sign him free on a three season deal. The draw came after a 2-1 defeat to Almeria on Wednesday night, also on the mainland training tour.

Almeria are a decent side and CD Tenerife only lost to a last minute penalty given away by youth defender Moreno. Iriome found the net after 36 minutes following creative play from Omar and Nino and Ulloa levelled after 78 minutes, that decisive penalty was also scored by Ulloa, right at the finish.

To be fair to CD Tenerife they atarted at Orihuela with Moreno again in the heart of defence and youth goalie Dani Mederos between the posts. The first half was all square and goals arrived late on, Natalio found the target after 61 and 70 minutes for a 2-0 lead. Aleo pulled one back after 79 minutes and Nino found his scoring touch after 82 minutes. Orihuela finished strongly with Santa Cruz and Aleo tying the game in the last five minutes. There was a cup at stake so penalties were brought into play, Nino and Juanlu fired wide and although young Mederos saved a spot kick Orihuela won.

Five goals conceeded in two games will concentrate coach Arconada’s mind on defence, he will be keen to see what difference Melli can make. We have had some good defenders the last few years but getting them to play as a strong defensive unit has been a constant problem, this will be one of the coaches biggest challenges.

On the plus side Mallorca have been confirmed as the opponents for the presntation game in Santa Cruz and it will take place on Friday 20 August at 9pm with season ticket holders getting in free. Sporting director Santiago Llorente says the club can make one more signing, a forward on a free. Not long to wait now, be nice to see meanigful games again. Vamos Tenerife.

CD Tenerife Get A Firm Grip On The Teide Trophy

It’s official CD Tenerife are better than Wigan Athletic, well semi official. A convincing 1-0 win for CD Tenerife in La Orotava made it three straight friendly wins, this time against La Liga opposition Real Zaragoza, a few days after they won in England 3-1 at Wigan. Nino took his pre season tally to 6 goals and although Zaragoza put out a weakened side, Tenerife were all over them for most of the game.

It was a change from our usual northern runs for Santa Cruz home games, given an extra twist by the leg crossing need for a leak by Mrs Moron. We dipped off the motorway and down into Las Caletillas just past Candelaria and found a nice bar for the emptying and filling of various alcoholic liquids, at least we boosted there trade for the day. As we cut across through La Laguna and past El Sauzal, the clouds closed in and our 30 degree start point seemed another continent away. Getting off our sawn off coach, not enough numbers for the full size bus, at La Orotava it had dropped a good 10 degrees but that didn’t worry us as we found many of the other CDT fans at our usual bar up a steep back street. After a few Dorada’s we headed up to the ground, the evening dusk lit up by a couple of blazing fire crackers, The General had already sorted out the 12 euro tickets for us. The ground was pretty packed, about 6,000, so we made our way to the far corner to welcome the players onto the pitch.

From the kick off it was clear that Zaragoza didn’t have their strongest line up but CD Tenerife again played good football and soon got their reward. Ricardo, looking commanding in midfield, set up Nino after 11 minutes and his finishing was clinical making it 6 goles in 3 friendlies. Midfield was working well with Juanlu making good breaks, and defence looked a lot tighter, thanks in part to David Prieto who looks a wise signing for the centre of defence.

Both sides made changes for the second half, Zaragoza brought on former Arsenal and Liverpool forward Jermaine Pennant and he must have been delighted to hear so many English voices welcoming him. We were able to offer him honest assesments of his past performances, valuable career advice, and even suggestions for leisure activities he may like to indulge in. Tenerife kept the upper hand, Omar made a big impression that was to earn him the man of the match award and the defence was so good they restricted Zaragoza to very few chances. The only bad points were injuries to Sergio Aragonoses, Omar and Pablo Sicilia. The final whistle signalled a pitch invasion as the Teide Trophy was awarded and players signed autographs, even Pennant posed graciously with his tormentors. Overcome with emotion, and rather a few Dorada’s, the Morons missed the coach as we sailed off down to the south with more reasons to look forward to the league campaign with hope.

Trying To Tell My Arts From My Elbow In Tenerife

Waking up in an arty farty frame of mind, I put on my cravat, adjusted my blazer, and headed up north to Santa Cruz. I’m no expert but I do love to dip into the wide and varied art scene that flourishes in Santa Cruz and La Laguna in particular. First port of call was a new venue for me, Centro de Arte la Recova just past La Noria as you head into the heart of the capital. New York bio artist Marlene Tseng Yu has an exhibition called Forces of Nature on until 27 August and like so many places in Tenerife, it is FREE.

Marlene’s work, acrylic on canvas is on a grand scale and centres on the environment and the beauty of our planet. La Recova is a large shell of a building and well suited to host such a display. The 16 works were all bright, vibrant and bursting with natural energy. Too often the art galleries are poorly supported but there was a steady trickle of visitors as I wandered around. the exhibition opens 11am to 1pm and 6pm to 9pm every day except Sunday, when it is closed, and it runs until 27 August.

I didn’t get very far after leaving the building, next door is the Teatro Guimera, a beautiful old theatre built in 1848 and currently undergoing a major facelift. It would have been all finished by now but the heavy rain and floods at the turn of the year did a lot of damage, hopefully it will now open in September, I will defnately have to take in a show there to see it in all its glory. It is named after poet and playwright Angel Guimera y Yorge who lived from 1845 to 1924. Most passing tourists snap a photo of the distinctive theatrical mask sculpture outside but I thought it was time that the inspiration for the building got his mug shot taken.

Where to next on this voyage of discovery? How about Plaza de España and a chance to catch up on the newly re-opened remains of the Castillo San Cristobal, one of the original defensive strongholds that helped to repel us horrible Brits and several other nationalities. the castle was built in 1575 but it was demolished in 1928 to make way for the Plaza de España, the centre piece of Santa Cruz. There was a nice surprise for the people of Santa Cruz when in 2006 Plaza de España was dug up for the new lake project, and underground part of the original castle wall was found standing firm. It was restored along with the main plaza and opened to the public but those heavy storms earlier this year flooded it out and more work was needed. I saw the first version and it was a bit plain, and the old section of wall with little explanation didn’t really do the history proud. This new version is loads better, much more information in Spanish and English, a big focus on the attack by Nelson, commentary with drum sound affects for the wall, and a seperate room for the famous Tiger canon. The Tigre has been credited with blowing Nelsons arm clean off, but as the guide notes explain,that is not proven, it did hole one of the British ships and played a big part in defeating the British earning it’s place in local folklore. The Castillo is open to the public Mon, Weds, Thurs and Fri from 10am to 6pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 7pm, closed Tuesdays.

Having neglected La Laguna lately, and always up for a ride on the tram, I took the 30 minute glide up to the university city. One of my regular stops there is the Instituto de Canarias Cabrera Pinto in Calle San Agustin, they always have an interesting exhibition running. The latest is called 25ft_10 Orientaciones and features new views of everyday scenes from around Tenerife in drawings, paintings and photos. There is even a wedding area complete with a long reception table with scattered flowers and remains of a feast. I liked the photos of Sergio Real, revealing some hidden corners of daily life in small villages. The exhibitions here are always FREE and it’s nice to check up on the slow restoration process being carried out on the old Convent of San Agustin. The latest display is open Monday to Friday 10am to 8pm and Saturday 10am to 3pm. There are a lot of roadworks going on at the moment around the historic back waters of but its fairly easy to pick your way through and always rewarding.

Tramming back to Santa Cruz I got off and Plaza Weyler and walked down into the heart of the city and rounded my trip off with my usual papas bravas and churros de pescado at the kiosk on Plaza del Principe. it’s a lovely shady spot to watch the world bustle by and follow the green parakeets flitting from tree to tree. Not a bad old way to spend the day.

Goal Feast In El Fraile As CD Tenerife Offer More Gems In 5-2 win

The lookie lookie capital of Tenerife, El Fraile, played host to CD Tenerife for the second pre season friendly, this time against local team UD Ibarra. We had all been joking about the reputation of El Fraile as being “a little lively” at night but from our bar stop near the ground, we watched the Guardia Civil shaking down a group of local youngsters. They were being thoroughly frisked, seemed a bit exessive for an overdue library book, it may have been in connection with a gardening offence as several people mentioned that some weed had gone missing.

Anyway everyone was very welcoming to us, they even sold the 10 euro match tickets in the bar, preserving valuable minutes of drinking time. This was a new ground to me, very low walls around the pitch allowing easy pitch access for fans, apparently last time CD Tenerife played there a fan tried to do a streak on the pitch but was so drunk he couldn’t get his trousers down and fell over on the grass, all live on local TV. The Armada Sur filed round behind one of the goals and I joined them after snapping a few pics of the new players.

Results are just part of the picture in friendlies, it’s about looking for good signs, new partnerships, who’s hungry, who’s fit and trying a few younger players. CDT looked good again, Julio Alvarez (above) the big signing from Mallorca caught the eye pulling the strings in midfield and taking all the set pieces, free kicks, corners etc. Dani Kome seems to have got his appetite back and banged in the opener just after half an hour, from a cross by Berenger, the new French right back. Omar made it 2-0 soon after but Ibarra had a few good chances, forcing some convincing saves out of Luis Garcia.

Mass changes greeted the second half, the biggest cheer of the night was for Nino, fresh from signing his new four year contract. It was good to see Venezuelan born youth team graduate Josmar Zambrano (below) get into the action, he has been tipped as a future star for several seasons and he soon showed us what a good midfield player he is, with a hint of Messi about his looks and style of play. Nino was on fire, Bellvis set up his first goal and his second was a class affair with Bertran linking perfectly with him and a cool finish. Turbo, a lively ibarra forward, pulled two goals back, maybe the defence needs a bit of work. Another new boy, Natalio took his turn to shine threading a perfect pass to the unmarked Nino to complete his hat trick.

Another good workout in front of a 1,000 or so, at the final whistle many fans invaded the pitch and the CD Tenerife players patiently signed autographs and posed for photos. The General presented Pablo Sicilia with a new Armada Sur shirt and the central defender surprised us with his impressive English.

Welcome Back CD Tenerife, Let’s Make It A Good Season

The World Cup was a nice distraction but you can’t beat live football, that’s why I was tingling with excitement, singing football songs in the shower, and slipping on my CD Tenerife shirt with a renewed sense of pride and expectation. It’s become a traditional curtain raiser now to play at CD Marino in the first friendly so I headed down to the Royal Oak 2 to meet the Armada Sur, a chance to meet some good friends again and pick up my laughably cheap (125 euros)Â new season ticket.

It had been another baking day and the cold beer was very welcome, a large crowd of us had gathered and set off for the short walk to the Las Americas stadium. Part way down the road someone, who obviously we didn’t know and hadn’t met before, let off a big red smoke flare which illuminated some wild singing before being thrown across the road to smoulder on the waste ground. At this point a police van cruised by and pulled up, whoops time to stride on fast, the police went across and put out the sparking flare and thankfully didn’t try to snuff us out as well. Passing the small annex stadium we could see the huge stage and rig for the Saturday night Alejandro Fernandez concert.

Negotiating the long queue and paying the 10 euros entrance, well it’s CD Marino’s main source of income for the season, we passed the same raffle prizes that were on display last year and headed for the bar as the minutes ticked down to kick off. As always the bar staff used to home crowds of barely 200 struggled to cope with a 2,500 turnout and the ever thirsty Armada Sur, the service was slow and erratic. There is nothing worse than waiting to get a beer as people in front of you take ages to buy a packet of crisps. Anyway beers in hand we took our places on the terracing and tried to work out who was lining up in CD Tenerife’s snazzy new home strip. It was a mixed bag of returning players, new signings and youngsters that had been brought up for the pre season training camp over in La Palma.

CD Marino were poor, they have given us some tough games in the past but not this time, but for a first proper friendly it was pleasing to see CD Tenerife show some good signs. Nino has yet to sign a new contract extension but it’s looking more likely by the day that he will stay and it was good to see him in action again. Returning midfield player Hidalgo, back after a five year gap, opened the scoring after 10 minutes from a pass by Bertran, another key player looking close to committing his future to the cause. New signing Natalio set up Nino to make it 2-0 after 17 minutes and the play was flowing well. Iriome made a good start to his return from loan supplying Nino for a comfortable half time 3-0 lead. After some more scrumming down at the bar we were back for the second half as wholesale changes were made to the on pitch 11. Dani Kome came on and looked sharper than last season scoring a good goal cutting in from the left to round up the scoring after 75 minutes.

A good work out for the squad, and for our singing and drinking talents. There will be many tougher games than this but the new coach should be pleased with what he saw. Vamos El Tete.