Tag: "Asia"

Pride of lions | Iraqi Asian Cup victory reminds a civilization what ‘normal’ feels like

Baghdad, Aug 9 | A triumphant march through the Asian Cup tournament in July contributed to the resurgence of the Arabic phrase Assood al-Rafidain (Lions of Mesopotamia) to refer to the Iraqi national football team.

“It’s a way of labeling them with this unifying and historic cultural icon,” says Newsweek Baghdad correspondent Larry Kaplow, who appeared on our Aug 7 podcast. Rising above divisions by ethnicity and sect, the Iraqi team, which trains and plays matches in Jordan, defeated Saudi Arabia 1–0 on Jul 29 to lift the Asian Cup for the first time.

Mind over rattan | In a meld of meditation and footvolley, the Burmese excel

Doha, Qatar, Jan 3 | In the family tree of football variants, cuju begat chinlone begat sepak raga begat sepak takraw.

While this genealogy may be speculative—less formalized and less freighted than that in the first chapter of Matthew—the importance is that the stylized kickball game of imperial China has found expression in the modern era.

Terminal sadness | Stranded in time, Ghanaian plays football alone

Within Diosdado Macapagal International Airport six miles northwest of Angeles City in the Philippines, Ghanaian footballer Ayi Nii Aryee spends his days in legal limbo, lacking proper paperwork to travel to his destination or back to his point of origin.

He has been living at the airport, the one-time U.S. air base formerly known as Clark Field, since July, sleeping first on terminal chairs and then on a cot provided by the airport’s fire brigade.

The Chinese commentator for whom soccer brought pain

Articles on the downfall of Chinese football commentator Huang Jianxiang and on the end of Lansdowne Road in Dublin.

Frank McCourt recalls some hallowed turf | Readings for 29 November 2006

Articles by Frank McCourt on the sporting culture of his Limerick of youth, on further suppression of football-watching in Somalia, on Abbass Swan of Maccabi Haifa, and on reprieve for Iran’s football federation.

The Japanese Bhoy done good | Readings for 27 November 2006

Articles on the cult status of Celtic’s Shunsuke Nakamura, prospects for Australia’s A-League, Icelandic influence in the form of a takeover at West Ham United, FIFA’s ban on Iran, and pessimism over South Africa 2010.

2002 World Cup inspired a ‘toilet culture’ | Readings for 20 November 2006

Articles on the “toilet culture” inspired by the 2002 World Cup, on a 35lb Pele book and on the coaching skills of Hope Powell, manager of the England women’s national team.

Don’t call them WAGs | Readings for 16 November 2006

Articles include a history of women’s football in England, the quest for “conkers” superiority, advances in the Australian game, and an actor, alone on stage, convincing audiences that he is attending football matches.

Greetings and felicitations | Burmese come home as surprise victors

Selangor, Malaysia, Aug 29 | Thirty-five years of hurt? Burma has ended a barren, trophy-less stretch with a surprising triumph in the Merdeka Cup, an annual event to celebrate Malaysian independence.

Waltzing and brawling | Mixing it up at the Women’s Asian Cup

Adelaide, Australia | For headline writers the Women’s Asian Cup has been a dream. With the suspension of three North Korean players following a mêlée in Thursday’s semifinal against China, desk editors had their choice of stereotypes. Some went with “soccer catfight.” Others went political, hence the headline in The Age: “North Korean missiles fly on […]

The culture cup | Copping awards for purple prose, Icelandic chic and fish graphics

FIFA may have its Golden Boot, but notable performances at the 2006 World Cup finals were not confined to the pitch. We present our awards in musical, advertising and website categories, including an homage to our favorite tonsured French footballer.

Global voices | Intriguing stories, beyond FIFA’s control

Cambridge, Massachusetts | We long ago realized the value of Global Voices Online, the Harvard University–based project that sorts and translates Web logs worldwide, but its ability to circumvent the predictability of mass media makes it a must-read during the World Cup finals. The writing lacks a high gloss but shows the integrity of individuals, […]

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 […]

Berlinale | Festival sends soccer cinema soaring

Berlin | At least seven entries can be added as examples of world cinema’s interest in football (see our cinema page). All are currently screening at the Berlinale, the 56th Berlin International Film Festival. Gerd Graus, media chief of the German World Cup organizing committee, describes cultural connection with the sport as broad. The last […]

West Bank | Koreans assist in development of first pitch

Jerusalem | The first soccer pitch in the West Bank, in the Arab village of Issawiya, East Jerusalem, opened today. Funded by the government of South Korea as a contribution to the Peres Center for Peace, the artificial surface will form part of the Peres Center’s “twinned” school concept, in which Palestinian and Israeli school children, […]

Here are the women | Burma excels in Southeast Asian Games

Manila | Women’s football competition has started at the 11-nation Southeast Asian Games, with the most surprising results posted by Burma: an opening-day victory over Vietnam and a 5–0 victory over Indonesia on Friday. Burma now has the early-tournament lead. The final in the biennial competition is scheduled for Dec 4. The Games include 23 other sports, […]

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