Author Archive

Nicknames | Spicing T&T’s soca with chutney

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago | In an editorial, the Trinidad Express refers to the ongoing debate as a “squall in a thimble.” A letter to the paper on Jan 7 raised the possibility of changing the national team’s nickname to the “Soca-Chutney Warriors,” with the aim of recognizing the East Indian–influenced, Caribbean-based chutney pop-folk style as […]

Politicians | To Mbeki, Bafana Bafana impugns nation’s honor

Kroonstad, South Africa | Even after today’s record-breaking penalty shootout between Cameroon and Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations (Côte d’Ivoire advancing 12–11), we are still thinking about the rough treatment meted out by zealous followers of losing sides. To an outsider, South African President Thabo Mbeki sounded menacing with his excoriation of […]

Tex-Mex | Houston marketing forces still on Santa Anna’s trail

Houston | A transparent effort to add a patina of history to the newest team in Major League Soccer appears to have misfired. Calling on a European, especially German, tradition of including a year of founding in the team name (e.g., Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Hannover 96 and so on), soccer officials and civic boosters on Jan […]

Sportspages | Charing Cross store closes shutters

London | Its popularity once fueled in part by the football-fanzine movement and the football-book boom of the 1990s, specialty bookstore Sportspages of Charing Cross Road has gone into administration. New Zealander John Gaustad founded the store in 1985, opened a companion branch in Manchester and helped launch the annual William Hill Prize for Britain’s best […]

Fashion crossovers | Poulter’s replica shirt bears problem element

Dubai, United Arab Emirates | Players on the European golf tour have elected not to sanction Ian Poulter for donning an Arsenal replica jersey at the recent Abu Dhabi Championship. According to Poulter, the tournament director did not object to football kit as a fairway fashion statement per se, but rather to the prominent logo of a […]

Authors | Small-town football and the prize for fiction

Aracataca, Colombia | Literary ambitions of a local football team have outpaced those of this coastal town, home to Nobel Prize–winning author Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez. In March, a referendum will decide whether the name of the town changes to Aracataca-Macondo, appending the name of the fictional hamlet from One Hundred Years of Solitude. But lower-division […]

African Cup of Nations | Never-ending power supply

Conakry, Guinea | With its 3–0 defeat of Tunisia today in the African Cup of Nations, Guinea advances to the final eight as the undefeated winner of Group C. During this surprising run of supremacy, the state-operated power concern, Guinea Electricity, has discovered the importance of maintaining the power grid. Following Guinea’s first-round defeat of South Africa, one man died in […]

London diaries | Looking for football and not finding it

London | In part 1 of our diaries, we stumble down the King’s Road, Chelsea, braving the reckless challenges of shoppers and looking in vain for someone who might have a passing interest in the world game.

World Cup pre-production | Do we really need another gala?

Berlin | The Brandenburg Gate becomes the venue for a pre–World Cup “gala” after FIFA axed earlier plans for a star-studded spectacular. Having seen the production values for the Dec 9 draw in Leipzig (see Dec 6), the decision is probably for the best. But the re-think represents the type of PR misstep that, writ large, offers commentators […]

Africa | Land of DIY goals

Abidjan, Ivory Coast | The Jules Rimet World Cup trophy has been touring Africa, and the Times of London has tagged along. Fortunately, Owen Slot beats his own path through Angola, Ivory Coast, Togo and Ghana—the continent’s new entries in the 2006 finals—for a five-part series, which began Monday in the newspaper’s weekly football supplement, The […]

Supporters | Women welcomed to Prince Abdullah al-Faisal

Jedda, Saudi Arabia | Following evening prayers, Saudi Arabia and Sweden played a friendly match tonight with historic implications: for the first time, and after pressure from Swedish authorities, women were allowed to attend. The normally rigid gender separation in public was relaxed a bit for female Swedish supporters. “They will be allowed to watch the […]

Cinema | Should Spielberg rethink ‘Munich’ title?

Manchester, England | If Steven Spielberg had thought longer about the title for his latest blockbuster—or if he had spent more time in the north of England—he might not have chosen Munich. “[I]n this country,” writes Brian Viner of The Independent, “the word Munich has a prior claim on popular sentiment, relating more than anything to […]

Leadership | Simple square passes, simple striped sweater

Cochabamba, Bolivia | We have read of Bolivia President-elect Evo Morales‘s footballing passions, but until now had not come across a direct account. In 2004, however, Web logger Gabriel Iriarte Rico and friends invited Morales to play during a match in Morales’s central Bolivian power base of Cochabamba. Iriarte Rico recalls, according to a translation from […]

Fashion | Few things look good in orange

Amsterdam | Playing with the historical and footballing animosity between Holland and World Cup hosts Germany, a Dutch company has launched a line of $6 faux-Nazi plastic helmets bearing innocuous slogans. Designed so supporters can tweak Germans with memories of the World War II occupation of the Netherlands, Dutch officials are not amused. “We reject every link […]

Argentina | Parsing Maradona and culture

Buenos Aires | Marcela Mora y Araujo‘s Sunday profile of Diego Maradona introduces the reader to several key concepts in Argentine football culture. The first is picardia criolla, a “Creole cheekiness” with which Argentines spiced the game following its introduction by English sailors and railway workers. “The game is particularly suited to the poor,” she writes, no […]

Music | ‘England 2, Colombia 0′

Matthews, North Carolina | Thistle & Shamrock host Fiona Ritchie paid tribute to the late Kirsty MacColl as well as football-themed lyrics by airing the late singer-songwriter’s “England 2 Colombia 0” in show no. 1180 this past weekend. The tune from the one-time punk rocker, who died in a diving accident in Cozumel in 2000, describes an ill-destined love […]

2006 FIFA World Cupâ„¢ | Iran, sex, security and bad taste

Berlin | On New Year’s Day German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was “skeptical” concerning pleas from some Green Party politicians to ban Iran from the World Cup finals (see Dec 15). Flames of controversy were lit last month when Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made anti-Israel comments and publicly denied the Holocaust. Holocaust denial is a […]

Ghana | Making footballs ‘under the neem tree’

Accra, Ghana | Ghanaian writer Cameron Duodu reflects richly on the details of village football-making in his regular column, “Under the Neem Tree,” in the December New African. We took a cigarette tin into the bush and tapped the sap out of a gum tree called ofuntum. If you scraped off the bark of this tree, […]

Los Alamos | With nuclear arsenal squared away, researchers turn to soccer

Los Alamos, New Mexico | Soccer has been classified as the world’s most competitive sport, at least in statistical analysis covering English football’s top division, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, National Football League and National Basketball Association. Analysts representing Los Alamos National Laboratory and Boston University studied results of more than 300,000 games, concluding […]

Impalas’ revenge? | A dream fixture for postcolonialists

A supporter shows the colors after Angola’s 1–0 victory over Rwanda clinched a trip to Germany. (Riccardo Gangale | AP) Luanda, Angola | At some moment on 11 June 2006, an overexercised sports commentator will allude to the colonial history of Angola and perhaps suggest that recompense against opponents Portugal lurks in the minds of the Palancas […]

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