The Prague Cup - A weekend of football | Deloitte UK has been saved
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When the invite came through earlier this year to take part in the 16th annual Deloitte Prague Cup, it was a sure thing in my mind having been involved in two previous tournaments.
The Prague Cup: our firm’s own six-a-side football tournament. It’s where Deloitte football teams from offices all over the world meet on a pitch in Prague in hopes of capturing the trophy. Great people, “quality” football and so much energy all around.
The level of interest around the office in this year’s tournament was better than ever before and we pulled together three teams to represent the South West & Wales region: a Cardiff men’s team, a Bristol men’s team, and a SW & Wales women’s team; the latter included players from across both the Cardiff and Bristol offices. It was the first time our office had ever entered the women’s tournament and 2019 saw our most inclusive teams yet in terms of gender, grade and area of the business players came from.
I was part of the Cardiff office men’s team – we had 11 players making it one of the largest squads we’d entered for a number of years. With ages ranging between 19 – 35 years, we felt we had a solid mix of youth fitness and experienced heads. It was a pity that some of us (myself included) proved to have little of either…
Getting to Prague was an experience in itself as we chose cost over convenience and got ourselves an indirect flight, travelling via Venice. After a few mishaps en route, the team and I were just glad to arrive in the city to get ready to meet the other 94 teams and 1,000 or so Deloitte professionals from 30 countries also taking part.
This year’s tournament had a more difficult draw than in the last two years. With more teams taking part from the northern hemisphere, the qualifying tournament included non-UK teams this time round. After a winning start against Manchester, we painfully lost 1-0 to both the USA and Ukraine, meaning we had to settle for Saturday’s Consolation Cup.
With some of our Cardiff team members sustaining injuries during Friday’s qualifiers, the Consolation Cup did not get any easier for us. We struggled to get the better of a Hamburg team, but managed to salvage the match with a 2-2 draw. Then came the penalty shoot-out and, in true British fashion, that’s when we lost the game to the German side. And spun out of the tournament.
After such a disappointing loss, we gathered together to take off our boots and shin pads and settle down for the rest of the day supporting our fellow players. We watched some much better quality football and gave encouragement to our South West & Wales women’s team in their debut appearance at the tournament.
Outside of the football, we managed to squeeze in a bit of time during the evenings to visit a few of Prague’s watering holes and spend time with Deloitte colleagues from around the world.
The trip to Prague was largely centred around the football, but there was time for other things too, such as seeing the sights of Prague and with the May sun shining brightly, the city was as picturesque as ever.
With a team debrief on the final day, it wasn’t a hardship to sit and discuss the football and antics of the past few days, all whilst overlooking the Vltava River with a beer in hand.
Once again, the Prague Cup delivered a great four-day experience for everyone who went and whilst a rather worn-out team got onto the direct flight back to Bristol, very grateful of there being no stopover this time around, we all agreed we’d want to take part in the Prague Cup again next year.
It’s such a well-organised tournament. You get to see a wonderful city, team up with colleagues you’d not ordinarily meet during your working day and, after spending four days with them, you end up becoming friends for years to come.
You can see some highlights of the 2019 Deloitte Prague Cup here.