Stories of African (and English, and American) Soccer: Steve Zakuani and the Congo

April 26, 2010


“There is a significant degree of chance in the fact that the last two top overall picks in the MLS draft, Steve Zakuani and Danny Mwanga, were both originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Both players took circuitous routes to the league through the unpredictability of immigration and the strange concoction that is American college soccer. But their success in the US, however random, also says something about a place that is not likely to get much attention in this ‘Year of African Soccer.’” (Pitch Invasion)


From England to Nazareth: The hardest job in soccer

April 26, 2010

“John Gregory used to be a contender. When the former England international took charge of Aston Villa in his first big coaching job, few expected him to transform the fortunes of the former European Cup winners. But by the end of 1998 Villa stood (albeit briefly) at the top of the English Premier League and was openly touted as the next England coach.” (CNN)(Must Read Soccer)


Berlin Undone, Bayern on Edge

April 26, 2010

“After the Wall, Berlin’s Olympiastadion was one of the landmarks of German division. And after the now-united city’s team, Hertha, succumbed to a late goal on Saturday, losing 1-0 to Schalke, its relegation from the Bundesliga now looks to be inevitable. That means the former East German soccer league will have no representative in the country’s most affluent division. It also means the German capital city will have no team in the Bundesliga.” (NYT)


Roma 1-2 Sampdoria: awful second half display may cost Roma the title

April 26, 2010

“A shock result if you didn’t see the game – and even more of a shock result if you did. Roma were magnificent in the first half, but somehow let their lead slip, as Giampaolo Pazzini converted two left-wing crosses to hand Roma their first defeat in 26 league games. After last weekend’s failed experiment with a 4-3-3 shape, Claudio Ranieri reverted to his customary lopsided 4-2-3-1 shape, with Luca Toni dropped at the expense of Jeremy Menez, who played on the right. Mirko Vucinic stayed wide-left, with Francesco Totti as a false nine.” (Zonal Marking)


The Monday Morning Link Emporium

April 26, 2010


“We know how you feel. We share your pain. It’s Monday morning, and you’re sitting in front of your monitor, bleary-eyed and holding a cup of coffee with the consistency of molasses in your shaky hands. With that in mind, every Monday morning from now on we’ll be bringing you six of the best football articles from the outside world over the last couple of weeks or so, to help you put off that first spreadsheet for a while. Just don’t blame us if your boss catches you, and if you happen to come across anything that you feel would be appropriate to be shared with the rest of the world, just email us from the ‘Contact’ page on the site.” (twohundredpercent)


Cops and robbers in Ghana

April 26, 2010

“Accra, Ghana – In a lot of African cities the divide between rich and poor is hard to miss. Shanty towns are squished between the majestic monuments and manicured lawns. This week I ventured into one such area, Jamestown, with Ghanaian journalist Isaac Kpelle. From a cinematic perspective Jamestown is absolutely gorgeous – crumbling colonial buildings, a tattered lighthouse, crowded alleyways and brightly coloured wooden fishing boats. Originally settled by the coastal Ga people, it was turned into a British fort (James Fort) in the 17th Century. Today it’s a hardened shanty area with a working port and home to many of Ghana’s best boxers (You can see more about the boxing here).” (ESPN)(Must Read Soccer)


Time For A Salary Cap in European Football?

April 26, 2010

“It’s not only English clubs who are facing financial reality rather harshly these days, with pigeons back home and roosting all over the place. James Horncastle at Four Four Two’s French football blog, The French Connection, discusses a recent L’Equipe report that shows the scale of the losses at numerous clubs at the top levels of the game in France…” (Pitch Invasion)