There is a world of difference between Guatemala and South Africa, from weather, to lifestyle, to mentality. That is what Diego Dougherty learned when he left his football team in the South American country to go play in a different continent halfway around the world.
No, and not even football is played the same way in Guatemala and South Africa, one could even say South African players are much rougher, they do not fear the field and know they carry an advantage in their very genes.
Diego Dougherty is beloved in Guatemala, but his challenge now lies in winning a spot in the Ajax Cape Town team, demonstrating his ability and adapting to a country completely different than his own.
Upon arrival at the Cape Town airport, Diego Dougherty looked everywhere for his welcome committee, but the only thing he found was a man holding a sign with his misspelled name. He then got on some sort of Jeep and was transported to the hotel. While on the road, he had to shut his eyes over 40 times so as to not go blind from the dust around him.
The next morning, Dougherty left the hotel and stepped on to the training field, where he shook hands with several players, all over 1.80 meters tall with legs wider than his own head. But far from being intimidated, he decided to learn everything he could from his new teammates.
For Diego Dougherty, facing a football field for the first time in this country was quite the experience. Despite playing professional football, his teammates still survived the lackings of their country, and even so they still had an advantage in speed, resistance, and ability with the ball.
From his glory days in Guatemala, to the challenge of playing with Ajax in a foreign continent, the best thing he gained was the life lesson and the opportunity of growing and developing himself to the level of South African football players.