Friday 23 June 2006

The new ball order - Football meritocracy

The new ball order

Brazil is a superpower, Ghana has joined the elite, Africa has contenders, Australia has come of age and the USA lags the curve of progress that they are not counted with the few.

These are ideas that can only find fertile ground in the world of football.

When I read the Economist piece on why the World Cup is better than the Olympics, I had until then believed otherwise.

However, there are points to note, the Olympics includes all nations but it is usually dominated by global political powers trying to exert supremacy over their rivals, the gold tally is usually the chase amongst them rather than the participation which is the joy of many.

Small but greater

The Olympics is based in a major city of a country whilst the World Cup is spread all over the country and in some cases co-hosted in 2 countries.

Whilst the crowds of sportsmen and official make up for the Olympics, it is the fans that respond the most to the spectacle of the World Cup even where ones nation is not represented.

The Nigerian in me rues our absence but my support is shared between England where I was born, Holland where I live and Ghana, the currently surviving Africa team that made it through the group stages.

All for 22 seconds?

The culmination of all the events in the Olympics is the 100 metres final for the men and women, all over in less than 22 seconds - the World Cup is entertainment from start to finish over a month with 64 matches of at least 90 minutes each of tension to the final.

Reputations are destroyed, stars are born and the memories linger for up to 40 years - England still celebrates their only World Cup win of 1966 as if it were yesterday.

Many games have been boycotted for all sorts of political reasons, but the World Cup maintains a mystique of competitive zeal that probably only Brazil can afford to stay away having won it 5 times already.

FIFA Security Council - NOT!

For once, the Americans cannot produce a Dream Team, the Russians a Power Team, the English an Imperial Team, The French a Napoleonic Team nor the Chinese a Communist Team that would dominate as they dominate the UN Security Council.

When it comes to football, you can either play on the day or you are out - it appears even with the football elite where our expectations fail, it is sure one global level playing field - you are really expect the best team to win.

On to South Africa 2010- Oh! We are yet to get into the second round of Germany 2006 - the excitement of it all.

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