Impressed

I think we were pretty impressed.

So, to cut a long story short, we had a pretty good fight and dropped out of the tournament after the preliminary round. Well, we just had time to get to know Georgia and Tblissi,

Which we did extensively. I won't go into any further details here, I just want to emphasize that the drinking and eating habits were quite different from ours. With the consequence that Manfred flew back home with a broken arm and had to undergo an elaborate bone transfer there later. Well, even the hospitals had a slightly different character.

Nevertheless, this trip was not without its charm, we probably would have repeated it, but a year later the Soviet Union was in a state of upheaval or breaking apart, so that none of us dared to put this idea into practice.

A few months after our return we were still surprised by the visit of one of our local coaches, who registered with various members of our team over a longer period of time.

Ten days of Georgia - and that in 1989

How do you get there? Until then I had never thought about it, because:

"Where is Georgia anyway? - Today I know it, then, well!

So, Georgia is situated on the Black Sea, about the geographical height of Sicily, was at that time a "member state" of the USSR and at the time when we were there, you could already feel the efforts for independence that were fermenting in the then Soviet Union. Georgia and its then president, Shevardnadze, were among the pioneers.

Otherwise, Georgia was partly agricultural, partly industrial (mainly ore and mineral mining).

And why I was there - now Tblissi, the capital is twin city of Saarbrücken and had invited to a football tournament. Somehow this invitation had reached the Landesjugendring Saar, which asked its member associations to put together a team. Well, so I came to Tblissi like the virgin to the child.

Somehow none of the member federations really wanted to do so, so that in the end a bold squad of, I think, 11 people, who had never played together before and hardly knew each other, flew to Georgia to represent the flag of the Saarland worthily.

Uh, why does that sound so pathetic?

Well, what none of us knew:

All the other teams, Kiev, Lisbon, FC Tirol and whatever they were called, had played elimination tournaments just to be allowed to play there. And then the "Hobby - Thekenmannschafts - Nichttrainiert - Trupp" came from the contemplative Saarland and had to play in the first game in front of about 8000 spectators against Tblissi's selection.

Georgia

Georgia is a Eurasian state located on the border between Europe and Asia in Transcaucasia, east of the Black Sea and south of the Great Caucasus. To the north it is bordered by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the east by Azerbaijan. The parts of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are breakaway and are only recognized as sovereign by Russia and some other states.

With around 3.7 million inhabitants (2015) on an area of 57,215 km² (excluding the breakaway parts of the country), Georgia is rather sparsely populated. More than a quarter of the population lives in the capital region around Tbilisi, other large cities are Kutaissi, Batumi and Rustawi.

German source: Wikipedia

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