From its beginning till now FIFA world cup 2010 has been in headlines whether it is the result of matches, kick off concert or controversies about vuvuzela and Jabulani.
The new, supposedly improved World Cup game ball named ‘Jabulani’ means “rejoice” in Zulu, one of the native languages of South Africa. So far the ball has not been a source of joy for the goal keepers and players as they are struggling to cope up with the erratic flight of aerodynamically designed Jabulani. Adidas’ re engineering for the most stable ever ball has been met with scorn. The best review about Jabulani I have read is “It bends more than Beckham and dives more than Ronaldo”.
Adidas Jabulani is being cited as one of the possible reason why there have been fewer goals seen during this year’s World Cup. In the first eight games, a total of 13 goals were scored, averaging 1.63 goals per match, compared to 2.25 in 2006 or 18 during the first eight matches.
The Jabulani is the product of three years of research and development by Adidas, which the company claims resulted in an almost perfect sphere. The Jabulani is textured with small ridges and ‘aero grooves’ and represents a radical departure from the ultra-smooth Teamgeist ball, which was used in the last World Cup. That is why it is expected to ‘bend’ more for the players than any ball previously encountered.
While defending the ball Adidas says that countries who had complained about the ball only had themselves to blame for not practicing enough with it. The Jabulani ball was supplied to all countries in February and had been used extensively in Germany’s Bundesliga as well as by other leagues such as Austria, Switzerland, Portugal France, Argentina and United States which were sponsored by Adidas. The ball was also tested by Chelsea, Real Madrid and AC Milan. Probably that’s the reason that other leagues which were not sponsored by Adidas are finding it difficult to handle the ball like England while Germany easily beat Australia in a high scoring game.
Is the German made Adidas Jabulani giving advantage to Germany and drawback for others in world cup football?
Despite complaints, FIFA supports its match ball. “The ball has been produced by Adidas, which is a long-standing partner of FIFA and very experienced in this field,” said Nicolas Maingot, head of FIFA’s media department.
England’s Robert Green, Algeria’s Faouzi Chaouchi and Paraguay’s Justo Villar have given up soft goals to what Nigeria’s Dickson Etuhu called “the worst ball ever” in an interview with the BBC. Superstition has been greater than before after the English and Algerian goalkeepers ‘mishandled’ the ball and allowed the U.S. and Slovenia respectively to score.
The ball is a fairly fundamental part of the equipment in football and FIFA should ensure the uniformity between the balls that are being used in different countries before future tournaments of such importance. Else import it from Pakistan as Sialkot is famous for its Sports Goods and Pakistani football was a part of World Cup football till 2002.
Image Source: Describer