More to Egypt riots than football

November 26, 2009

“The chauvinistic brand of nationalism that swept across Egypt last week – the violent fringe of which saw riots outside the Algerian embassy in Cairo – really isn’t about the football, despite what Joseph Mayton says in his Cif article yesterday. The spark was a football match, certainly, but Mayton’s contention that depressed Egyptians were simply ‘unable to deal with the fact that even on the football pitch, they cannot achieve success’ does not tell the whole story.” (Guardian)

Egypt-Algeria World Cup violence used to rally support for Mubarak regime
“Street-level clashes between fans that began over a soccer game between Algeria and Egypt last week have escalated into an international diplomatic incident that goes to the core of Egypt’s identity and its waning role as Mideast powerbroker. Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi announced today he would accept an Arab League request to mediate in the escalating conflict between the two states after Algeria beat Egypt for the last African slot in next summer’s World Cup.” (CS Monitor)

Efforts to Defuse Tensions Between Algeria and Egypt
“As readers of The Lede will be aware, North Africa has been facing a new source of strife in recent weeks — soccer. Last Wednesday, after the Egyptian national soccer team lost its World Cup bid to rival Algeria 1-0 in Sudan, 32 police officers and 21 Egyptian fans were reportedly injured in violence. The next day, Egyptian demonstrations outside the Algerian embassy in Cairo turned violent.” (NYT)

Gaddafi ‘to mediate’ in Egypt-Algeria football row >
“Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi has agreed to mediate between Algeria and Egypt in an increasingly heated row over football, state media say. Libyan news agency Jana reported that the Arab League had asked Col Gaddafi to intercede between the two nations. Each side accused the other’s fans of violent attacks after last week’s vital World Cup play-off, which Algeria won. Meanwhile, about 150 Egyptian and Algerian academics and intellectuals issued an appeal to defuse the row.” (BBC)

African view: Not just a game
“In our series of viewpoints from African journalists, Zimbabwean filmmaker and journalist Farai Sevenzo asks whether football has not grown too big for its boots. I don’t know about you but my last two weeks have been dominated by sports. Watching it not playing it, because I haven’t become a fitness fanatic nor am I addicted to the gym and I remain resolutely lazy when it comes to kicking up a sweat unless it is for pleasure. But with 198 days and counting down to the Football World Cup in South Africa, the season of inexplicable nationalism and outrageous passion is upon us.” (BBC)

30 seconds with referee Jerome Damon
“Jerome Damon of Cape Town has grown in stature since making his debut as a professional soccer referee in 1996. Now a member of the Caf and Fifa refereeing panels, he has officiated in three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, in Tunisia (2004), Egypt (2006) and Ghana last year. A fourth official at the 2006 World Cup, he held centre stage in the World Cup qualifier between Egypt and Algeria at the Cairo Stadium last Saturday.” (TimesLive)

Murdoch Sounds The Death Knell For News Corp Soccer Coverage

November 26, 2009

“In the clash between old media and new media, I find it comical to see traditional old media establishments floundering to survive and concocting irrational business plans to hold on to the very little power they still have. The best example is Rupert Murdoch’s recent attempt to remove the websites he owns from the Google search engine results pages, and his plans to put up a paywall for many of his news sites to prevent readers from accessing articles for free.” (EPL Talk)

Soccer in Iraq: Another Field for Argument

November 26, 2009

“Iraq’s national soccer team has certainly endured hardship. Saddam Hussein had players beaten after losses. And the war that deposed him forced them into exile, after extremists started killing sports figures. Their first game at home in years was just this summer — against the Palestinians, the only team willing to come here during a war.” (NYT)

Ten Greatest Comebacks Wins in European Football History

November 26, 2009

“Throughout the history of European football, there have been many great comebacks that have changed seasons, careers, and the fate of clubs and/or countries in the process.” (Bleacher Report)

Q. & A. With Simon Kuper, Author of ‘Soccernomics’

November 26, 2009

“The British author Simon Kuper was born in Uganda in 1969 and grew up in London and Leiden, the Netherlands. He is currently a Paris-based sports columnist for The Financial Times. His book “Football Against the Enemy” won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award for 1994. He is also the author of “Ajax, the Dutch, the War.” His most recent book, “Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey — Even Iraq — Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World’s Most Popular Sport,” written with the economist Stefan Syzmanski, was published in the United States in early November.” (NYT)

Will South Africa 2010 produce a new Pele?

November 26, 2009

“Last Thursday was the 40th anniversary of Pele’s 1,000th goal when he rolled a penalty past the Vasco da Gama keeper in his favourite stadium – the Maracana. Subsequent research has revealed that the milestone had probably been reached a few matches earlier and the achievement is open to question anyway, as the numbers were inflated with goals scored in army matches and so on. The point is, though, that Pele’s greatness as a footballer cannot be reduced to grim statistical accumulation. He is remembered not for scoring over 1,000 goals, but for shining so brightly for so long at the highest level of the game.” (BBC – Tim Vickery)

Denmark: 2009-10 Superliga

November 26, 2009

“Denmark, Superliga table … 16 of 33 rounds have been played in the competition, which will go into it’s long winter break after matches on 9 December, 2009, to start up again on 14 March, 2010. Denmark is currently ranked 16th, for 2010-11 UEFA competitions. That’s up 3 places from the last ranking, and is indicative of the progress Denmark has been making in football. The Denmark National Football Team’s recent qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup is another example of this. The Danish Superliga is currently playing it’s 20th season. Reigning champions are FC Copenhagen (FC Kobenhavn in Danish). FC Copenhagen won the double in ’09, with a 1-0 win over AaB in the Danish Cup final, for their fourth Cup title.” (billsportsmaps)

Scandal and Corruption Cloud Champions League Restart

November 26, 2009

“Barcelona defeated Inter Milan on Tuesday, 2-0, at the Camp Nou in Spain. The victory, coupled with a 0-0 draw between Rubin Kazan and Dynamo Kiev, catapults the Catalan side to the top of Group F with 8 points and helps save the European champion from embarrassment. (The day’s results are here.)” (NYT)