Tag Archives: World Cup

Suarez Tucks In

25 Jun

Suarez is at it again. Fifa launches a probe into the latest Suarez biting incident.





You must be choking

27 Mar
Proteas Forever

Proteas Forever

It’s hard being me. I support Arsenal football club and South African cricket. Maybe it’s masochism, maybe I have some strange attraction to extremely talented emotional cripples. My depression over our recent ICC World Cup exit to vastly inferior opposition (yet again) has lifted long enough for me to vent a little, so here it is.

I’ve never thought that the label of ‘chokers’ was quite fair when applied to our cricketers. Certainly, the first accusation of choking came after we conspired to draw (and thus lose on a technicality) in the semi-final against Australia, but it was only Allan Donald who choked after Klusener had rescued an almost-lost cause. I used to be happier with complacent or arrogant or immature as a general description of our historical problem. I now realise that all of those adjectives are true, but ‘choker’ most of all. The trouble is that the cricketers themselves still keep persisting in denial about it. Apparently they spent all the press interviews in this WC being edgy or aggressive when the question was raised — which ironically is a great symptom of chokiness.

A choker in golf is someone who gets the shakes and misses a three-foot putt for the tournament. In cricket, it’s more systemic fear, panic, lack of confidence and poor decision-making. Getting upset about the question in press conferences shows that the fear and lack of steel is there in abundance. The sooner we’re able to say, ‘Yes, we’re chokers; won’t it be embarrassing if you’re beaten by chokers’ the better.

To add to the catalogue of chokes from earlier World Cups, we collapsed under the littlest pressure from hapless England, and we scored a last-minute victory over India — who have their own choking problems at the moment. That victory was allegedly evidence that South Africa was over their jitters, but it wasn’t. Rigid and fear-driven captaincy and unnecessarily risky running were the highlights of the contribution from our senior players. Then Johan Botha took risks to get us back in a position where sensible cricket would have sufficed and immediately took a rush-of-blood risk and got out. We only won because one of our bowlers got lucky with the bat — a feat that he would probably not replicate more than once in every twenty attempts. In other words, we did plenty of choking, but were out-choked by India.

When pressure finally was applied in the knock-out stages, we managed to get into a winning position, where calm cricket would have got us home easily, but Kallis went aerial for no reason whatsoever and was caught (shades of the loss that we engineered against the West Indies a few tournaments ago when we chased a low target by handing out catching practice). Then Duminy played half a sleepy cross-bat shot in homage to every number 11 batsman in the world and got bowled. Then someone who actively encourages people to call him ‘Faf’ called for a suicidal run for no reason and dismissed Our Last Hope TM.

The point is, Dear Proteas Cricket, you are chokers. You work hard enough to raise hopes and then you freak out and dash them in a flurry of immature, brain-freeze panic. The sooner you leave denial behind, the sooner you can battle the choker tag head on, and the sooner you can stop being the most depressing sporting franchise in history. Here’s to another four more years to wait for potential to be fulfilled. Let’s hope we still have the potential to fulfil by then.

The Ungenius World Cup

20 Jul

The FIFA TM (PBUH) World Cup was a wonderful event, full of celebration and excitement and all of that good stuff, but what place does such an event have on a site dedicated to whingeing and celebration of failure? So let’s pay tribute to Africa’s World Cup by chronicling its most noteworthy failures.

#5 The Vuvuzela
VuvuzelaIt’s easy to hate the vuvuzela. It’s loud and monotonous, none of which is all that endearing. It reminds me too much of Lloyd Christmas’ most annoying sound in the world. Yet somehow, for reasons I don’t fully understand, I don’t hate it all that much. It did add a unique flavour to Cup, and at least none of the games were silent and funereal. But for flattening out the highs and lows of crowd participation and for making it impossible for any other kind of noise (singing for instance), the Vuvuzela enters the Ungenius rankings at #5.

#4 Afropessimists
afropessimismThe idea of holding a tournament in Africa led to all sorts of predictions about how much of a shambles it was going to be. If the prophecies had all come to pass, our politicians would have run off with all the money, the stadia would all have fallen down, and the natives would have cannibalised all the tourists in their over-priced B&Bs. Countless South Africans just knew that nothing would be finished on time and that the games were going to be disasterously mismanaged. Even the Guardian UK kept running reports about how foreign visitors were staying away because of the exorbitant costs and danger to visitors. We were back to lions roaming the streets. In reality, it went off virtually without a hitch, and it was as safe as any Cup has been. Every one of the pessimists were proved wrong. I haven’t heard any retractions yet. No apologies. Still waiting.

#3 Picture delay on the public broadcaster
tension graphIf you were subjected to the local broadcasting of the tournament, you would have to have suffered a commentator who said ‘from x’s point of view’ and ‘as far as the x is concerned’ at least 50 times a match. But that was not the biggest worry. The most Ungenius mistake made by the SABC was the delay of the visuals at least a second behind the commentary. This had the effect of making the commentators seem especially sharp during regular play, quoting the name of the player as he received the pass. Unfortunately when the commentator got excited about the possibility of a goal, the viewer heard about it before it happened. By the time the striker hit the ball, you could already hear in the commentator’s voice whether or not it was going to be successful. It was a little bit like having someone notifying you what is just about to happen in the movie you’re watching. It’s unbelievably annoying not to be able to experience the growth and release of tension at the proper times. I tried switching to the radio commentary once, but the radio commentators were describing the action replays before we got to see the goal being knocked in.

#2 FIFA’s baffling technophobia

Goal disallowed

It only crossed the line by a yard. Too close to call.

For some reason, FIFA imagines that we all secretly appreciate it when our favoured teams suffer a serious injustice. Disallowed goals, bad offside calls, red cards for nothing… we all love it when our teams crash out because of a referee error, because football is all the richer for the beautiful analogueness of it. Well bugger it, FIFA, the rest of us like technology. We enjoy watching the replays. We like computer-assisted visuals that reveal whether someone was offside or not. I’m dern sure Frank Lampard would have been happy to have a one-minute breather while the refs consulted the TV on his goal against the Germans. The difference between 2-1 and 2-2 at half time is huge. The difference between telling your grandkids that you banged in a cracker at a World Cup and that you went to a couple of tournaments but got nothing… that’s pretty big. So thanks FIFA. I’m sure all of the hard-done-bys are really grateful that you’re scared of the computer.

#1 Letting Adidas reinvent the football
Jabulani Beach BallSouth Africa spent a lot of billions organising this World Cup. Players have been training their whole lives for this moment. Oh, but by the way, that ball that you’ve been training with your whole lives? Yes, you won’t be using that one. We’ve let Adidas decide what you’ll be playing with, and they quite liked the way a beach ball behaves in the air, so they’ve gone with something like that. Hope you don’t mind. The goalkeepers? No you guys will probably flap at it a bit, or palm it back straight down the middle. Freekicks? Um, no, it’s quite hard to get used to, so you’ll be hitting it like a rugby conversion for the first 6 or 8 games. It’ll be a rubbish spectacle until sometime in 2012 when you’ve all had a good go at it. Sound alright? Good! On we go then!

The Fall of Rome 2010

21 May

The Romans got all decadent and sloppy. They took their position on top of the pile for granted, and before they knew it, the rabble had the upper hand and won the right to… to… it’s almost to horrible to say out loud… self govern!

Our beloved American overlords are showing signs of the same. If their lack of awareness of the world is this bad, then not only will they be unable to win wars against places like Vietnam, they won’t be able to find them.

South Africa not in Africa

Pic stolen from some other website. Sorry about that.