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Up Pohnpei Leading the ultimate football underdogs to glory By Paul Watson

Release date: 02nd January, 2013
Publisher: Profile Books

List Price: £12.99
Our Price: £7.19
You Save: £5.8 (44%)
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January has just about slipped by, the usual mixture of compromised new year resolutions, dawning financial reality (yes, that's your festive season credit card bill on the doormat) and an understandable reluctance to commit yourself fully to your role at Acme Umbrella Parts.

Was it ever thus? Chances are you haven't yet signed up for VSO, nor applied to join those creative writing classes you saw advertised last month, or told your boss what you really think of him - or her.

So if your forthcoming pay cheque is likely to be blown on much-needed over-indulgence, may your reviewer strongly recommend setting a tenner aside to buy Up Pohnpei, one of the most inspirational sports books you'll ever read?

Like most good stories, this one begins late at night when conversation, liberally fuelled by alcohol, veers towards the seemingly impossible. Ordinarily, undertakings made during such nights are quickly forgotten by the next morning, but Paul Watson and his pal, Matt Conrad, are made of sterner stuff. Their idea of finding the world's weakest football nation and becoming naturalised citizens in order that they may both play for the country and so earn an international cap lingers beyond a crazy late night discussion.

It transpires that Pohnpei, a Pacific island which forms one of the four states in the Federated States of Micronesia, is deemed home to the globe's worst international team.

Accordingly, our intrepid duo contact the island's FA, at which point their longer-term aim of becoming international footballers takes an unexpected twist. What the Pohnpei FA is desperately short of is coaching and leadership. Its people love the beautiful game, but with 90% of the adult population weighed down by the debilitating effects of obesity, it's little wonder their last fixture ended in a humiliating 16-1 defeat.

What to do? Travel 8,000 miles to the island of course to assess the task at hand. It is truly enormous, but that doesn't deter these guys who, aided by Dislhan, best described as 'a football mad local', embark on a journey which has you willing them on as they encounter enough obstacles to last a lifetime.

Collective passion and determination are their greatest assets. If you're not inspired by the time you've finished this outstanding book, you'll probably spend the rest of your days at Acme Umbrella Parts.

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