I’m reading David Elleray’s autobiography right now. Quoting this book’s introduction, David Elleray was, until his retirement at the end of the 2003-2003 [football i.e. soccer] season Britain’s best-known and highest profile referee.
On page 145, he writes about a South-Africa versus Brazil friendly that he was refereeing. I quote:
I arrived at Jo’burg Airport to a carnival atmosphere as the Brazilian team had just arrived and the terminal was alive with dancing and singing children, and a plethora of media representatives. This was clearly a special match for South Africa who were still on a high, having won the African Cup of Nations on home soil, and they were relishing playing the World Cup holders.
I was greeted royally and then whisked off to some TV interviews. My host was Ari Soldatos, a FIFA linesman who later officiated in the 1998 World Cup finals. My assistants were from Angola and Mauritius. The former spoke only Portugese and the latter spoke English and French so, as in Japan, communication was not easy. The next morning we set off on what I thought would be a sight-seeing tour: it soon became a procession of visits to back-street car dealers as the Mauritian assistant needed some spare parts for his car back home.
Soooooo typically Mauritian! I can easily imagine the scene: David Elleray wanting to discover the beautiful sights of South Africa, visit some museums and tasting some typical food and nice wine being forced to visits to back-street car dealers as the Mauritian assistant needed some spare parts for his car back home.
It’s funny… and a little bit pathetic at the same time.