This is funny. From the Christian Science Monitor:
Imagine India’s top basketball coach flying to Miami to teach Shaquille O’Neal how to shoot free throws. You can guess the incredulous reaction of everyone from the ESPN pundits to your local 7-Eleven cashier.
That’s how German fans reacted when national soccer team coach Jürgen Klinsmann brought in US fitness guru Mark Verstegen to whip his team into shape before Germany hosts the World Cup this summer.
Now why didn’t he call Arnold? Oh, that’s right – Schwarznegger is Austrian.
US Trainer Helps Germans Get Fit!
This is funny. From the Christian Science Monitor:
The Bash Street Hooligans
This made me smile, Gerd. But we agree it is no laughing matter!
More on Germany’s Hooligans
Get Real FIFA! Stop the Candy Fights!!
FIFA is going too far. They are becoming the language police!
Here’s an example from Deutsche Welle:
“The legal row between FIFA and German candy producer, Ferrero over marketing rights during the soccer World Cup in 2006 has now moved to Germany’s federal administrative court. The dispute first arose when FIFA — in a first in World Cup history — filed for brand protection for the terms “World Cup 2006″ and “Football World Cup 2006″ and furnished an entire list of products which advertisers couldn’t use without FIFA’s permission. Ferrero, which is headquartered in Frankfurt and which has been providing small cards of soccer players with its candy — a popular souvenir among socccer fans — during soccer World Cups and European Championships since 1982, protested against the rigid conditions and scored a partial victory at the Federal Patents Office in Munich.”
And there was this as well!
Bad Sod – A Dirty German Trick?
Following a ground inspection at Baden Baden on Thursday, which included Wembley Stadium Grounds Manager Steve Welch and England Coach Tord Grip, the decision has been made to returf the pitch in preparation for the visit of the Three Lions.
The result will be an internatonal standard pitch, meaning England can train for the World Cup on a superb surface.
Nice try, Beckenbauer!
All I can say is the Three Lions better watch what they eat – make sure we give those cooks a good security check!
Hooligans: Violence, Fascism and Racism
This World Cup may be quite scary. I know the Germans are going to be vigilant, but with a history of violence between Germans and Poles- and of course our own hooligans, we could be in for a difficult summer.
The BBC reports that Polish hooligans are starting to turn their attention to Germany and this summer’s World Cup. Apparently they want to test themselves against the elite of European hooliganism in a country that is only an hour’s drive away.
I just hope we can keep it clean.
UPDATE: This is not a joke: Oguchi Onyewu has been the victim of an unprovoked racially motivated attack following the Anderlecht Brugge clash he was watching as a spectator.
Vitor Borba Ferreira Rivaldo to stay at Olympiakos
People have been asking me- where’s Rivaldo now?
After his ups and downs with Inter and Cruzeiro, Rivaldo has been playing in Greece for Olympiakos.
Yesterday, Olympiakos CFP President, Mr. Socrates Kokkalis, signed Rivaldo up for another year:
“Rivaldo is staying because he is the greatest signing a Greek team has ever accomplished. He has proven his worth and has contributed a great deal to the team, that’s why we decided upon prolonging our cooperation one more year. Besides, it said so in his first contract. We had the right to renew with him for one more year and that’s exactly what we did. I think that players like Rivaldo are rare and I hope that those people who said some bad things about him when he first joined the team have now ceased.”
Last season he played in 23 games and scored 12 goals. Rivaldo is going to be 34 years old on April 19th, and made 1.9 million euros last year. Not bad.
Good luck Rivaldo!
Video: 1958 – A Skinny Kid called Pele
Video: Liberia’s George Weah
Pretty impressive, Shourin! And he would have been a good PM too…
Much Adu about nothing!
Freddy Adu has been promised more playing time with DC United and this as a starter. Big deal. His coach is Peter Nowak, a micro-manager if ever there was one. Nowak is notorious for announcing his roster just before game time which means that Freddy Adu could be cooling his heels once again on the bench. Kudos to Nowak making DC United one of the most succesful teams in MLS history. But I don’t think he is the right influence on a talent like Adu. If there ever was a coach that was concerned about dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s, it would be Nowak. A disciplinarian but stifling and cautious. Not good for nurturing a young talent.
With Adu you need a Bela Karolyi. Take a chance. He is only sixteen. Get him going in this World Cup, unfettered. And let his talent take over. This might be the beginning of things beautiful.
Video: Maradona vs. Ronaldinho
So what does Pele say?
Joga Bonito Advertisement on American Idol
Last night they ran this Nike ad on American Idol. The ad is cool, but the Joga community is fairly boring… Doesn’t Ronaldinho’s baby smile make you smile?
The best team that never won the World Cup
Undoubtedly, the 1982 French side led by Michel Platini. I still remember that semi final match between France and West Germany, as I suspect many others do.
Eusebio: The Black Pearl
The World Cup in 1966. Portugal was with their backs against the wall in their match with North Korea, 3-0 facing one of their most embarassing defeats. Enter: Eusebio Ferrieira Da Silva. In an extraordinary explosion of soccer wizardry the world would see, Eusebio scored four goals. With his lightning fast acceleration, dribbling skills, and a lethal right foot he stunned the Koreans.
Portugal went on to win the match 5-3. A star was born. Eusebio scored nine goals, the most in WC 1966. Portugal finished third, the best finish that they have had to date in WC, losing to England in the semi-final to a brace scored by Bobby Charlton, 1-2.
Eusebio finished his career leading Benfica to 10 championship leagues and 5 cups. He sored a phenomenal 727 goals in 715 matches for Benfica. The most ever for a Portugese player. He scored twice in the European Cup final in 1962 against Alfred De Stefano’s Real Madrid side to help Benfica win 5-3.
And in his first match for Benfica, a friendly against Santos played in Paris in 1960, Eusebio scored a goal within minutes. He went on to score three. One of his opponents was none other than Pele.
Not bad for a lad born in Maputo, Mozambique.
Eusebio paved the way for a generation of future African superstars like Didier Drogba, Kolo Toure, Henri Camara, El Hadji Diouf, and Mohamed Sissoko .
Charles Taylor should have played soccer like George Weah
I read with great interest the arrest of Charles Taylor, the Idi Amin of West Africa. Taylor was caught trying to flee to Cameroon from Nigeria, where he was living in exile. Taylor is the Liberian despot who is responsible for bringing Liberia to its present economic woes and instigated the horrific civil war in Sierra Leone that killed hundreds of thousands of people. All in his pursuit to enrich himself with shiny baubles. Taylor actively supported a rebel group in neighboring Sierra Leone, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), in exchange for diamonds.
He provided the RUF with weapons and related materiel, training, logistical support, a staging ground for attacks, and a safe haven for retreat. Known for its unusual brutality, this notorious rebel group terrorized Sierra Leone by killing civilians and amputating the limbs of tens of thousands of innocent persons, including children. Taylor also sold timber from Liberia’s forests to pay for arms for the RUF and to enrich his personal coffers. Since the end of Liberia’s civil war in 1997, the export of forest timber became the government’s key source of revenue. Forests that once fed and protected rural communities withered, and with the current rate of logging the vast majority of the pristine forests that remain in Liberia will be gone within the next 10 years.
Contrast this with fellow Liberian, George Weah, one of the best known and well liked personalities. Weah was a soccer phenom and the first and only African so far to be named European and FIFA player of the year in 1995. He attained extraordinary success as a club player for Marseilles, Paris St. Germain, and AC MIlan. Unfortunately, Liberia never qualified for the World Cup and he never got a chance to show of his soccer prowess to a wider audience. But during his day he was considered to be the best African player of all times.
After retirement, Weah used football as a way to bring happiness and promote education for children in Liberia. In 1998, Weah launched a CD called Lively Up Africa featuring the singer Frisbie Omo Isibor and eight other African football stars. The proceeds from this CD went to children’s programmes in the countries of origin of the athletes involved.
Weah is President of the Junior Professionals, a football team he founded in Monrovia in 1994. As a way to encourage young people to remain in school, the club’s only requirement for membership is school attendance. Many of the young people, recruited from all over Liberia, have gone on to play for the Liberian national team.
He recently stood for the October 2005 elections against Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, after a popular petition installed him in the ballot. Weah was favored to win but could not get a majority in the primary. He was beaten narrowly in the run-off. He gracefully acceded not disputing the election results and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became the first African female head of state. Weah could have resorted to violence upsetting Liberia’s fragile peace but he chose not to do so.
George Weah, soccer phenom and humanitarian extra-ordinaire.