Remondis Stadium took on something of a different look last night when the under 20 national teams from Portugal and Ghana took part in a soccer friendly ahead of the upcoming Under 20 FIFA World Cup.
Predicted to be two of the leading contenders at the tournament in New Zealand, they showed off their skills in front of a crowd which included Sharks NRL squad members, Sharks Coach Shane Flanagan and members of his coaching staff, as well as local round-ball enthusiasts.
Young NRL star Valentine Holmes was on hand to present Portuguese prodigy Marcos ‘Rony’ Lopes and leading Ghana player Yaw Yeboah with a Sharks jerseys to commemorate their visit to the Cronulla home base.
Holmes was gobsmacked by the salary reportedly demanded by Lopes, who is contracted by Manchester City and currently playing on loan to French club Lille, with an amount somewhere in the vicinity of $30million being touted.
The 18-year-old Yeboah is also contracted to English Premier League giants Manchester City and is a part of their Academy system.
Lopes came on in the 70th minute and immediately displayed his class, creating a goal for John Vicar which helped his side to a 1-0 win over Ghana in the World Cup warm-up.
In showcasing Remondis Stadium as a multi-purpose venue, both Portugal and Brazil were booked to train on the ground today, with the Portuguese team also using the facility earlier in the week. Brazil will also hold an open training session (free entry) from 3-5pm on Friday.
Sharks TV was on hand to capture some of the action, while also getting a reaction from Holmes as to the international football clash.
The Under 20 FIFA World Cup begins in Auckland on May 30. Australia did not qualify a team for the event.
Home page photo - Shark Valentine Holmes meets two equally talented youngsters in Yaw Yeboaw, Ghana (left) and Marcos Lopes (Portugal)