Archive for April, 2006

Origins | Henry grew up without ‘silver spoon’

Les Ulis, France | Arsenal’s Thierry Henry will return to hometown Paris on May 17 for the Champions League final against Barcelona. More precisely, Henry grew up in Les Ulis, a satellite town in the southwest in the Essonne département, where children, according to John Goodbody in The Times (London), “still use the trolleys from the […]

Anniversaries | 13 years since Zambian air crash

Ndola, Zambia | Columnist Christeter Macha of the Times of Zambia finds that Africans of many stripes remain scarred by the 28 April 1993 Buffalo CT 15 crash that killed 30 off the coast of Libreville, Gabon, including 18 players of Zambia’s national team. Booksellers, filling-station attendants and journalists testify that the effects of the disaster spread […]

‘Clases de baile’ | Zidane’s dance class takes final turn

Madrid | With pledges “to leave it all behind” and to start playing the game with children, archetypal playmaking midfielder Zinédine Zidane has announced his retirement from football following the World Cup finals.

Typically, the 33-year-old player for Real Madrid and France looked sheepish facing the bank of microphones and cameras at Wednesday’s press conference. “Yes, he is shy,” said France teammate Thierry Henry.

Documenting the passed | ‘Cane ball’ trapped on celluloid

Mandalay, Burma, Apr 20 | Dry dispatches announcing chinlone tournaments appear occasionally in the New Light of Myanmar, the mouthpiece of Burma’s military regime.

The terse pronouncements show that despite the political and economic torpor and the governing junta’s Orwellian logic—the capital recently was relocated from Rangoon based partly on the forecasts of astrologers—a taste for the beauties of “cane ball” remains.

Slide tackles | Football proceeds on ice, in the name of research

Halley Research Station, Antarctica (U.K. claim) | The Kansas City Star shirks no continents in a summary of how world cultures will be captivated by the forthcoming World Cup finals. An e-mail exchange with Simon Herniman, general assistant at the British Antarctic Survey’s most isolated station, confirms that radio and Internet will aid researchers as they track England matches as well as the rest of the competition.

Field artillery | Bombings in kibbutz and Gaza represent new pitch invasion

Gaza City, Palestinian Authority | Some of the most contested, densely populated land on earth offers little space for football on grass. Even less so now that a massive crater remains near the center of the Palestine national stadium in Gaza City, the result of an Israel Defense Forces bomb attack on Apr 1.

At home and away | With march, migrants seek space on foreign field

Decatur, Alabama | Until hundreds of thousands marched yesterday, it had become hard to piece together isolated movements from such places as Janesville, Wisconsin; Liberal, Kansas; Bowling Green, Kentucky; San Angelo, Texas; and Dalton, Georgia. These are small to mid-sized locales featured in recent media reports for burgeoning Hispanic populations and for the development of local, ethnically based soccer leagues.

Not real, but simulated | FIFA wants tougher policing on dives

London and San Francisco | Dave Eggers states the facts straight in a book excerpt published last weekend in the Observer. In yet another permutation of the “Why Americans don’t like soccer” argument, Eggers mentions, first, the Cold War–era “commie” taint and, second, the prevalence of diving (aka “simulation”).

Rice of the Rovers | ‘Condi’ cottons to Lancashire lads

Blackburn, England | The visit would not exactly qualify as ping-pong diplomacy, but sport as a means of high-level diplomatic exchange continues with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s excursion to what has been termed “the center of the world.”

Cross country | City of Edinburgh, following hearts, pushes west

Edinburgh, Scotland | Pity the Hearts or Hibs supporters who must plan a dawn awakening Sunday, shuffle through sleep-addled fog onto a westbound train or auto and negotiate riot-ready police cordons to enter the national football stadium at Hampden Park in Glasgow. All this is to see two fiercely supported Edinburgh clubs who, in defiance of probabilities and history, meet in a Tennent’s Scottish Cup semifinal at 1215 GMT. A Scottish Police Service spokesperson predicted “one of the biggest exoduses ever from Edinburgh.”