Mina 14, 2078, m249
On sub-level F of Amrita, through a nondescript set of unmarked doors is Gymlu-F, this is where I first met the Immortals 15 months ago.
"It’s a fine day for football."
At least that’s what Cezar Vadvua, the club's Assistant Manager, told me.
“Actually, it will be much better when we get outside, but with dust season, we will spend many days in the gymnasium. Either way, we meet here daily to work-out and practice,” he explained.
The beauty of that first training camp was the sneak peek into the making of a team.
“Where’s Andam Mirza today”, I asked. Then, Andam had only been appointed the Manager for the Amrita Immortals two months prior.
“Andam left me in charge as he had meetings at MAFL headquarters”, said Cezar. “Better him than me. I prefer to be with the players instead.”
There were 11 of them who showed up that day. “This isn’t your full squad, is it?” I asked their scouting director Ivo Zapletal.
“Not at all”, replied Ivo. “Today’s practice was optional because some players are still transitioning from their jobs. Don’t worry, we’ll have a full team suited up when the season starts.”
I noticed a few players helping each other with their EV suits. I point this out to Cesar who looked up their numbers: Laurien Hagendoorn and Ronald Donovan.
“We practice in full gear as often as possible. Even when indoors,” explained Cesar
Ivo proudly pointed out another pair practicing deft dribbling and passing.
“I found Ran Naik and Akkilic Talpur from the Kingfisher club," beamed Ivo, "A few of the players came from that recreational athletic group. We were quite selective with who we recruited.”
Cezar drew my attention young woman who was mid-jump. It seems like she hung in the air for an impossible amount of time, almost touching the gymnasium ceiling.
“That’s Chamunda Badal. She's on our shortlist for goalkeeper.”
I noticed another player who was kicking the living hell out of a neatly placed row of balls. He was in standard indoor trainers, making thundering shots at the wall. I vividly recall his posture and obvious natural abilities with handling the ball.
"He's new, a local lad," said Ivo, "He came in from the top, through a connection with the owner. He's definitely got moves."
The three of us approached him.
"I’m Uday Lanka," he introduced himself to me with a confident smile.
Yes, that is the day I met season 1's Most Valuable Player.
Of course, it came as no surprise to me when Mirza eventually announced Lanka as team captain, though I may not have been able to predict then that Lanka would become the league scoring leader with an unbelievable 14 goals.
“It’s going to be a fine season for football,” Cezar said to me.
Indeed it was, but that was only the beginning.
It has come full circle as I have been invited to visit Gymlu-F yet again.
"We are hosting trials and early training camp," wrote Cezar, "You never know who we might discover."
The beauty of training camp days... A sneak peek into the making of a team.