Archive for March, 2006

Malays in football | Criticize if you like, but they’re still ‘MyTeam’

Kuala Lumpur | The fantasy of discovering previously unknown talent—the fuel behind American Idol and a host of schlocky televised talent shows worldwide—has been adapted in Malaysia to football. Producers of MyTeam (short for Malay Team), a planned 12-part production on TV3 Malaysia, believe that their idea of fielding a side of amateur footballers drawn from Malaysia’s 13 states will help reinvigorate a moribund domestic game. They hope that the ragtag outfit, following a seven-week training camp, will show well and perhaps defeat the national team on 28 May.

The vital home leg | Freetown players find support for game efforts

Freetown, Sierra Leone | The physical prowess of amputee footballers shows clearly in the pictures and text supplied by Robyn Dixon in last Friday’s Los Angeles Times. The victims of atrocities or other injuries incurred during a 10-year civil war, members of the Single Leg Amputee Sports Club must shed prostheses before taking the field and confront the handicap as well as the prejudices of the able-bodied.

‘El superclásico’ | Sound and fury masks struggle of greater significance

Buenos Aires | More interesting even than the game passions and the crushes of shirtless supporters in La Bombonera, some boosting themselves precariously on stanchion bases, the political context for this version of el superclásico lent the end-of-summer derby a compelling backdrop. English-language commentators did not appear to appreciate the significance of River Plate’s XI holding a white banner, reading “Nunca Más,” at the introductions, nor did they mention the reason for the pre-game moment of silence, interrupted by chanting Boca fans at Estadio Dr Camilo Cichero.

Caught in the vertex | Korean dancers sharpen ‘official cheering tool’

Seoul | We are unable to determine exactly what actions constitute the kkokjijeom, the “vertex dance” consisting of “simple, repetitive rhythmic movements” with which South Koreans will be supporting their side during the World Cup finals. Dancers have assembled across the country, outside the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Mar 1 before a friendly against Angola, to demonstrate its addictive qualities.

‘Wir für euch’ | Germans battle angst as the clock ticks

Dortmund, Germany | Supporters lent a raucous surrounding to today’s friendly between Germany and the United States. We did not see denizens of the Signal Iduna Park wearing any of the free 11,000 T-shirts reading “Ihr für uns und wir für euch” (“You’re for us and we’re for you”) meant to soften feared hostility toward Germany’s manager. At least the U.S. television commentators were not wearing them.

Holding pattern | Immigrants in Spanish enclave turn to fútbol

Melilla, Spain | For a taste of the familiar after months-long journeys by land and sea, football has much to offer hundreds of displaced Africans. Recently the CETI Club de Fútbol started to compete in a 10-team city league in this Spanish enclave on the coast of northern Morocco.

London diaries | The sweet embrace of the crowd

Part 2 of the diary finally arrives, featuring evenings at Upton Park and Highbury. At Upton Park, home to West Ham United, we fake a Cockney accent and most of the words to “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles.” Besides this, we learn what literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin might have to say about our zest for football chants.

Keyboard flurry | Writer’s cramp setting in for academics, Rooney

London | Wayne Rooney may be developing writer’s cramp along with his football injuries in years to come. But of more interest than Rooney’s £5 million publishing deal are several other football titles showing that the game lends itself to multiple genres.

Mid-Atlantic jolt | Energy drink takes New Jersey out of MetroStars

East Rutherford, New Jersey | Names for Major League Soccer clubs these days appear to have all the staying power of names for PGA Tour events. Last week Red Bull New York—which, confusingly, will compete as the New York Red Bulls—supplanted the MetroStars with the latter’s acquisition by Red Bull GmbH of Austria. This follows the rebranding […]

Great Gençlerbirligi smoke-out | Stadium regulars worry about going cold turkey

Ankara, Turkey | Few recent news items have reminded us of late Beat poet and Bob Dylan confidant Allen Ginsberg‘s live performance of “Put Down Your Cigarette Rag (Don’t Smoke)” at the Duke University Gross Chemistry building sometime in 1979. But postings in the soccer “blogosphere”—specifically, at “The Round Ball in Ankara”—concerning new anti-smoking initiatives under […]

Coarse correction | Houston MLS team drops 170 years from its name

Houston | Comments posted on a Houston Chronicle web log—all by English-speakers, mind you—ran strongly negative following the announcement earlier today that the Major League Soccer club would be called “Dynamo.” In a change of marketing strategies, club officials scratched “Houston 1836″ following protests that the name recalled the ugly secession of Texas from Mexico […]

Global Game Wallpaper 26

Global Game Wallpaper 26 Originally uploaded by GlobalGame. Highbury at night, Arsenal v. Wigan Athletic, Carling Cup, semifinal, 2nd leg, 24 January 2006. With quote from Bob Ferrier, “Underground to Highbury.” Copyright © 2006 JZ Editing & Publishing.

Global Game Wallpaper 25

Global Game Wallpaper 25 Originally uploaded by GlobalGame. London royalty | At the Brick Lane market on 22 January 2006, hawkers traffic in knock-off images, some incorporating Premiership players and logos. Copyright © 2006 JZ Editing & Publishing.

Lens on life | Mathare Valley football offers entrée to squatters’ struggle

Nairobi | Photographer John Barrett Reed traveled in 2005 to the Mathare Valley slums on the eastern edge of Kenya’s capital, hoping to provide new images of Africa for Western audiences who may have become desensitized. He concentrates his lens and writing on a slice of Mathare, home to 600,000 squatters, and uncovers the organic quality of football as […]

Game of risk | World Cup provides model for baseball’s global pitch

Tokyo | It would have made a better first-round game in soccer’s World Cup. But in baseball, Japan versus China—a pairing that today helped launch the first World Baseball Classic—resulted in an 18–2 thrashing administered by the home side. Soccer, and the world-embracing success of the quadrennial World Cup finals, has motivated Major League Baseball’s attempt to “internationalize the sport,” according to […]

Heartfelt praise | We’d like to thank the Academy for giving us a soccer player as host

Los Angeles | Fresh off receiving an honorary All-America award from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, late-night comedy host Jon Stewart (née Leibowitz) continues to soak up the glitz. On Sunday he will emcee the 78th awards ceremony of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Unlike the NSCAA gala, the Academy Awards will […]