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Author Topic: Amir`s first time in Rome and Olimpico  (Read 1273 times)


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Amir`s first time in Rome and Olimpico
« on: August 03, 2010, 11:12:30 AM »

Here are the memories from Rome trip and Lazio - Bologna:

Part I

Scene 1, act 3.

After two previous attempts to watch my beloved Lazio, one in 2003 and another one in February 2009, which failed for two different reasons, I finally was able to attend at Olimpico, in an almost rainy 29th day of November 2009. One could hardly find a worst period for Lazio, in a relegation zone, fighting for every point. Fighting, hmm I doubt that is a proper word to illustrate what our coach and player display these two months. Nevertheless, being a Lazio fan ain`t easy at all and suffering for our colors is something we are accustomed now. Our opponent was Bologna, with our two ex players, Marco di Vaio and Gaby Mudingayi, who left pleasant memories while playing for SS Laziio.

Being a Laziale in Kosovo is indeed a unique thing. Everyone is a fan of Inter, Juve and Milan. Then of Real, Barca, Chelsea, Manchester UTD. Lazio fans here are as difficult to find as snow in Africa.

This trip, which I call Act 3, as in the movies when directors try to shoot a same film scene, which for some reason fails in previous attempts, started when I accidentally found out that an air company was having some discounts in certain destinations. Rome was one of them and I immediately grasped this opportunity and booked the ticket, then assembled a million documents needed for a short stay visa in EU states, and prayed that something else does not happen to spoil this so long awaited event.

So I arrived in Rome as expected. Only a severely bad weather could be the obstacle that could take this match away from me. I spent Saturday walking around Rome, the day was excellent and despite being late November, there were a lot of tourist. In the afternoon, I met my two old Italian fellows, whom I know so good virtually, but whom I never met: Paolo (Ermetico) and Fabrizio (Jester). I had a lovely a friendly chat with them. My friend who was accompanying me from Kosovo could not believe that this is the first time I meet my Italian friends. We sounded like we met million of time before.

Sunday was the D-Day for me, a chance I have been waiting for such a long time. A dream waiting to become reality. I go to the stadium with a local bus almost 3 hours before the kick off. I have a coffee and Piazza Mancini and then take picture of the surrounding area. Through some connections, I managed to obtain tickets for VIP tribuna. A thing which I did not expect and a most pleasant surprise one Laziale could wish for at Olimpico. I enter the VIP section, a large room before the tribuna. Many guests are there. Food and drinks and served, of a very high quality. I see the door in front of me, the final ‘obstacle’ to see the grass of Olimpico. My heart starts beating faster. I display my ticket to the elegant guard and finally here I am: Stadio Olimpico, a view watched thousands of times on TV. Never did I think that I would be so emotional to only see the stadium, before the players are even on the pitch. I return back, since it was still 1 hour before the kick off. I pass the half of that one hour in the VIP hall, just before the entrance to the VIP stands in the stadium.

Part II

Half an hour before the kick off, I enter the stadium and take my seat. Next to me seat an old couple, maybe 65 years. True Laziales, as during their conversations I over hear them speaking of former Lazio players. And while looking around, I notice Fernando Couto, just few steps below. He has come to watch the match. While walkng the steps, a kid stops him and ask him for a photo. Fernando agrees. Di Biagio is at the stadium too.

The match kicks off and Lazio starts good. I look at the Curva Nord, a view I`ve seen so many time on TV – so beautiful. First twenty minutes pass with our total control of the match: 3 golden chances go in no return: a solo by Zarate, from coast to coast; one assist by Rocchi to Matuzalem and Rochi himself who fires just above from a corner. After that, every things starts looking like the Lazio we used to see the entire season. No activities in the midfield, no ideas to attack, everything goes individually. The public starts whistling and they are right in doing so. The first half ends and people start screaming at Lotito, who takes a break as well “Vatenne” they say. Lotito stops for a second and takes a look at those screaming at him. He looks disturbed.

While everyone expects that we shall return and be more aggressive in the second half, the opposite occurs: the players are in lethargy, playing absolutely awful. Not even a semi-chance is created. Fans become to nervous, so do I. The time passes very fast. Ballardini makes a substitution: Foggia out for Meghni. And you have absolutely no idea of the reception this sub was met by the fans. An amazing noise, whistles from all sides to Ballardini for this unthinkable sub. As expected, Meghni does not make a change, at all. Two substitutions follow up, one weirder then the other. To no avail. The match ends 1-1. Tare almost has a fight with Bologna bench since Osvaldo fell on the groud in the stoppage time, pretending to have been kicked off by Radu. Fans are sad, nervous, pissed off – all feelings mixed in one. How is it possible that we have fallen to the level of being unable to beat teams like Cagliari, Parma, Bologna at home, when we are the better team? Everyone is shaking the head. Everyone is deadly worried for this Lazio, that is knocking on the relegation door.

After the match, I go to the place where players give press statements. Once again I am lucky. So many journalists waiting for the players. After a while, Diakite passes by, then Foggia. Gaby Mudingayi comes out and I take a pic with him. I tell my companion that I always valued him while playing for us. He aggress. Di Vaio comes out and gives a long conference for the journalists. Meanwhile Stendardo comes out, I take a pic with him too. I really like this guy. He is positive and always gives the best on the pitch. After him, Meghni and Matuzalem and Eliseu come out. Matu was limping. I wait no longer for other players, since everyone was so nervous and I was tired. Take the bus and return to hotel near Termini to have a rest and reviews the pictures I had taken. A day that shall remain with me forever.

The next day, Monday, I go visit the remaining Rome attractions: Vatican, Navona and Pantheon. Around 1.30 I meet again Paolo and have a pleasant lunch together. There was a huge battle who would pay the lunch, and who paid can you guess ? Naaah, that is absolutely irrelevant. I salute Paolo, thank him for his hospitality and guidance in the eternal city. Hope I see him again. Next day, I got on the place and return home, where I belong.

AVE LAZIO - Popolus tuus te acclamat
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