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Representing A Continent

Started on 15 November 2019 by TheLFCFan
Latest Reply on 13 August 2020 by OneMoreGame
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Congrats on getting more minutes. This has been a hell of a story so far!!!
Pogrebnyak brings back so many FM memories!

This is so well written, absolutely loving what you are doing with this.
Pogrebnyak, now that's a blast from the past. I imagine that Arshavin was a huge loss to Zenit before his move to Arsenal back then, but a decent fee despite the injection available due to the recent Gazprom takeover.
Can't ignore the fact you've called Darren Fletcher 'Darren Ferguson' instead. :P That aside, I'm pleased to read that Luke adjusted to life in Russia. He seems to have enjoyed a lot of success and with Arshavin on the way out, it's a massive opportunity for Luke to increase his value in the team and also look to put himself in the shop window to bigger clubs. Interested to see where this heads next...

Once in a Lifetime


1st June 2010

Since his conversation with Anatoli Davydov on that cold February morning, Luke Hendricks had very rarely been without a smile. The meeting with his manager was one that saw Lukes emotions vary. For starters, sitting in the heavily heated office to combat the -6° that surrounded the St. Petersburg area, he believed he was being sold, just like when Henk ten Cate sold him in 2007. But what Davydov told him was the polar opposite. Instead of Luke being sold, star winger Andrey Arsharvin was leaving for Arsenal, and Luke was given the responsibilities of filling the stars boots. Arsharvin had scored 71 goals in 291 games for his boyhood club before leaving for the North London side, meaning Luke's job was going to be tough.

But it was one that the, now 23 year old exceeded all expectations. In his first season as a starter, Luke played in all but two of Zenits 38 games scoring six goals and assisting nine. Off the back of Luke breaking out for the Russian side, the club finished 3rd, just a point off 2nd placed Spartak Moscow.

Having impressed in the previous season, the start of this season has been unbelievable for both Luke and Zenit. Continuing to start and play a vital role for the team, Luke has scored five goals along with two assists in the first ten games of the season. Luke performances sees his side top the league early into the season, currently unbeaten, only dropping points in three games.

Despite an impressive start to the season, Luke's mind wasn’t focused on training today, a rarity for him. Normally one of the hardest workers in the squad and a man who prided himself upon treating training just like a game, he couldn’t take his focus from the fact that the Bafana Bafana squad was to be announced later today.
Making his debut in 2006, having impressed in glimpses at Ajax, Luke came off the bench in South Africa’s final African Cup of Nations fixture against Zambia. With his team already out of the tournament, haven fallen to defeats against Guinea and Tunisia, and 1-0 down against a poor Zambia team, Luke’s dreams came true in the 82nd minute.

With the mixed amount of game time at club level following the tournament, Luke struggled to cement his place in the Bafana side, making just seven appearances in the next three seasons. However, upon breaking into the first team at Zenit, and making a great impact, Luke began to see a lot more national games as the run in to the World Cup began. Now an almost guaranteed starter having scored twice and assisted four times in his 16 games for his nation, Luke still felt a sense of nerves about being called up.

Not only would a callup be the biggest moment in Luke's career, but it would also allow, the soon to be 24 year old, the opportunity to see his Mum and Dad. Despite being supportive throughout, Grace and Liam struggled to fund any trips to visit their son, with work limited to unskilled workers. Luke, who was receiving a good amount of money at this stage of his career, saw very limited time to travel back home and despite the handsome pay packet, would often send money back to his parents to ensure they could live in some sort of comfort. This meant that since leaving his home in 2005, Luke had only seen his parents on the few occasions South Africa had played home fixtures.

Having ended a poor training performance, by anyone’s standards, let alone Lukes, he entered the changing rooms still focused on the squad announcement due in an hours time. It gave him time to get showered, changed and drive the fifteen minute journey home, in order to see if he had made the side. Sitting down at his computer, Luke loaded up the News 24 website headlined “BAFANA BAFANA NAME WORLD CUP SQUAD”

Taking a deep breath, Luke made his way through the list of names:


Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Moeneeb Josephs (Orlando Pirates), Shuaib Walters (Maritzburg United)

Defenders: Siboniso Gaxa (Sundowns), Anele Ngcongca (KRC Genk, Belgium), Aaron Mokoena (Blackburn Rovers), Matthew Booth (Sundowns), Bongani Khumalo (SuperSport United), Siyabonga Sangweni (Golden Arrows), Tsepo Masilela (Maccabi Haifa, Israel), Lucas Thwala (Orlando Pirates)

Midfielders: Teko Modise (Orlando Pirates), Lance Davids (Ajax Cape Town), Reneilwe Letsholonyane (Kaizer Chiefs), MacBeth Sibaya (Rubin Kazan, Russia), Luke Hendricks (FC Zenit Saint Petersburg), Kagiso Dikgacoi (Fulham, England), Steven Pienaar (Everton, England), Siphiwe Tshabalala (Kaizer Chiefs)

Strikers: Surprise Moriri (Sundowns), Bernard Parker (FC Twente, Holland), Katlego Mphela (Sundowns), Siyabonga Nomvethe (Moroka Swallows)

“Yes!” screamed Luke, punching the air as he jumped from his seat.

Before any further celebrations could commence, his phone rang, with the Caller ID showing it was Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira.

“Luke, have you seen the news?” asked Parreira.

“Yes boss, I have. Thank you so much! This means a lot to me, I can’t wait to put a show on and help us achieve something.” replied the still emotional Luke.

“That is great to hear. Get a bag packed, your club has been contacted, you will be flying tonight. Congratulations Luke, you deserve it!”

Replies

MJK: Additional game time seems to be working for Luke! Thanks mate!
Griffo: Was a nice little reminder when I was doing research, forgot all about him! Thank You mate, means a lot that.
Jack: A massive loss, but it seems Luke has it covered for the time being!
Scott:Ffs, thanks :( A massive opportunity for Luke, and it seems he is taking the chance. World Cup is certainly another chance to impress!
Poor from the management. Players should be contacted directly before allowing the squad to be released publicly. But congrats Luke ;)
I could hear this during your update!

A well-deserved call-up for Hendricks after replacing the departure of Arshavin with seeming ease! I'm sure it would be fantastic feeling to be able to link up with his family again. Hopefully he can deliver an assist to Tshabalala for one of the greatest World Cup goals ever scored ;)
Yes!!!! Congrats on going to the best World Cup in my opinion!!!!!
2019-12-16 22:08#264001 Griffo : I could hear this during your update!


Is it because you're horny?
1
TheLFCFan's avatar Group TheLFCFan
10 monthsEdited

Wavin' 'the' Flag


22 June 2010

The 2010 World Cup was one of incredible importance for not only South Africa, but also Africa as a continent. For the first time, since the World Cup began back in 1930, the beautiful games biggest prize was coming to Africa. For Luke’s home of South Africa, a country that for years had seen divide, both during and post-apartheid, this was bringing the countries people together, like nothing else could. Fans lined the streets preparing to welcome its guests. School children were given six weeks off from school in order to live the once in a lifetime moment. The country was at fever pitch before a ball had even been kicked.

It wasn’t just the fans who felt the excitement though. The spirit throughout the Bafana Bafana squad was unmatched. The team and management truly believed they could create waves in the world of football with some surprising results. A group consisting of Mexico Uruguay and France would certainly produce some tough challenges. Playing against players like Giovani dos Santos, Carlos Vela, Diego Forlán, Luis Suárez, Franck Ribéry and Thierry Henry, for most of the players it would be another once in a lifetime opportunity, that this World Cup would provide, to test themselves against some of the worlds best.

For Luke, it was a World Cup that could force himself into the minds of every manager in world football. Major tournaments have always seen players impress and then get a massive move into one of the worlds elite sides, for Luke he was enjoying his time at Zenit and had in particular enjoyed the last two seasons playing a much larger role. But Luke had always been ambitious, a move to one of the biggest clubs in the world was always an aim for him and this World Cup was a great opportunity to do so.

It had been a little over five years since when Luke stepped out onto the FNB Stadium, for the opening game of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The noise created by Vuvuzela’s on his debut was immense, but this time it was deafening. The game got off to a fast start with chances flying for both sides. However, the scoring was only opened in the 55th minute. A Bongani Khumalo interception saw a beautifully flowing move begin with Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Kagisho Dikgacoi linking up before the ball came to Luke. Luke then played a perfectly weighted pass for Siphiwe Tshabalala, who took one touch before blasting his shot into the goal. A moment of celebration for South Africa, arguably the biggest goal scored in the country's history.

However, a mistake at the back allowed for Rafael Márquez to tuck home an easy equalizer to break South African hearts with just ten minutes to go. With not long left chances came for both sides, but the points were shared, with Luke impressing in the opening game.

Next up for South Africa was Uruguay, led by a frightening strike force of Luis Suárez, Diego Forlán and Edinson Cavani, who had been held to a 0-0 draw against France five days earlier. A Forlán wonderstrike opened the scores, as the striker beat South African keeper Itumeleng Khune in the 24th minute. Despite a lead, Uruguay struggled to break down the determined South African side until Khune bought down Suárez in the box. The keeper was given a straight red card and Forlán added the second of the game. An injury time third from left back Álvaro Pereira, piled on the misery for an unfortunate Bafana Bafana squad.

The results of the past eleven days had led into this game, the final match of Group A, South Africa vs France. South Africa’s heavy defeat against Uruguay left them with almost no chance of going through to the knockout rounds, but with France’s poor performances and clear breakdown, it was an opportunity for a famous result.

Due to the suspension of Khune, South Africa’s task was made even harder, losing their number one goalkeeper. But with twenty minutes gone, South Africa opened the scoring through Luke. Steven Pienaar’s cross field pass found Luke on the left wing. Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna tightly marked the winger but a flick over his head, as the ball dropped from Pienaar’s pass, neatly got Luke free. Using his blistering pace, Luke entered the box before chipping Hugo Lloris, who had left his line to close down Lukes angle.

With the scores opened, it took just 17 more minutes for Luke to score his and his nations second. This time, Luke ran down his wing cutting inside before being fouled by Sagna who was struggling to handle the tricky winger all day. Lining up the freekick, 30 yards from goal, Luke had one thing in mind. Hitting the ball perfectly, it swung into the top left corner of the goal, sending the nation into raptures.

Halftime arrived with the scoreline at 2-0, a shock result on the cards, the whole team were on a high. The second half began with South Africa looking to play through Luke once again. Captain Aaron Mokoena’s long range pass saw Luke jump high but a slight push from Bacary Sagna caused a hard landing for the winger.

“AHHHHHH FUCK!” screamed Luke.

Immediately, Luke knew it was bad news. Landing awkwardly he felt something pop in his ankle area, unsure what it was but certain it wasn’t good. The stretcher came on and Luke received a standing ovation, but he wasn’t concerned about that. Not now.

“Luke, I have to tell you now, this isn’t good,” explained Head Physio Mike Mabasa “We need to get this scanned and I am almost certain it will need surgery.” he continued.

“What does it mean Mike? How long?” asked Luke.

“I can’t be sure until the scan, but Luke, your season is over, let alone the World cup.”

Replies


Scott:It's South Africa, the power was probably out...
Griffo:Still have nightmares over them!
Jack:Considering I had written the update a couple weeks before posting the last update, good job on calling it!
MJK:It was a great world cup, a shame for Luke to get injured though!
Justice:Wondered where the puns had gone...
Sorry to see you injured, you could have been the one to replace Thomas Muller as the star of the tournament
Utterly depressing!
Trust Mokoena to play a literal hospital ball over to you.

Backstabbed

29th November 2010

Having been at one of the highest points in his life just a few months earlier, Luke's life had flipped upside down. Having scored both goals in what ended up as a famous 2-1 win for South Africa against France, Luke suffered what turned out to be a Grade 3 achilles tendon rupture.

Returning to the club a day after his injury, being moved about in a wheelchair, Luke was sent for surgery immediately by the clubs medical team. Luke had been relatively injury free in his career, with the odd strain here or there but this was the first time he would go under the knife. It was a scary time for Luke and one that the club seemed to distance themselves from. Luke found it weird, he thought he and the club had a good relationship, especially with the performances he had put in the past year or so. Luke decided it was just how things were done out in Russia, it wasn’t anything to worry about, he just needed to focus on recovery.

Having woken from surgery and spending a couple of nights in the hospital, with just one visit from the clubs doctor and Head Physio, again something Luke found strange, Luke was ready to be discharged. Once discharged the South African paid for his surgery, with the expectation of Zenit covering the costs once he returned.

“Not a chance.” said Boyra Uys as Luke presented him with the bill of his hospital costs, “What makes you think we would pay for that, it didn’t happen when you played for us, so you have no chance.”

Uys had only recently joined Zenit as their new chairman when Alexander Dyukov, a man that Luke had a lot of time for, left his post. Not much was known about Uys or where he had come from, but it was known he was former military and had a great CV in the business world, but with very little in terms of football.
Luke thought it was a joke, he was Zenits player, it stated under his contract any injury would be paid for and covered by the club but Uys didn’t seem bothered by that.

“You honestly thought coming to me with this would see you get the costs covered? I don’t care what it says in that contract, it wasn’t here. Try and sue me and the club all you want, nothing will come from it kid” the Chairman continued.

Luke was gobsmacked. Nobody from the club had come and seen him apart from that one off visit from the doctor to do a check. Nobody from the club had seemed bothered enough to ask after him. It was as if he didn’t matter, it felt like betrayal.

The disappointment quickly turned to anger for Luke, “What the fuck do you mean you not paying? You are supposed to look after us, you are supposed to be there for us. You don’t give a fuck about us, you just there for your money.” Luke spat.

Uys laughed “Yes, you are right. I couldn’t give a fuck less about you. Now talk to me like that again and I will have it seen that you are never able to walk again, let alone play football, you piece of shit.”

That was the last conversation Luke had with the chairman, with a forced move allowing him to leave the club he’d grown to love, but very quickly grown to hate. CSKA Moscow came in with an offer and it had quickly been accepted with both parties very happy to move on from one another.

Since then Luke had recovered from his injuries, making his CSKA debut against rivals Spartak Moscow in a 3-1 win. Coming from the bench Luke sealed the game with a last minute strike as he endeared himself to the grateful CSKA fans. A week later, and Luke made his first start in a 0-0 draw to close out the season. A season of highs and very low lows which ended up with the team Luke hated more than any other lifting the Russian title.

Replies

MJK: A real shame, and even worse Luke didn't exactly get the help needed to recover!
Scott: Heartbreaking end for Luke, only gets worse in 2010!
Jack:The most literal hospital pass possible.

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