Saturday, June 22, 2013

World Cup - Romario: FIFA 'are taking the p*** in Brazil'

Former Brazil forward Romario has described FIFA as "the real president of Brazil" and said the money spent on stadiums for the 2014 World Cup could have been used to build thousands of new schools.

Romario, who spearheaded Brazil's attack when they won the 1994 World Cup and is now a congressman, said Brazil had spent more than twice as much on hosting the World Cup as Germany did in 2006 and South Africa four years later.

"That is taking the piss," he said in a video posted the web sites of several Brazilian newspapers. "It's taking the piss with our money, with the public's money, it's a lack of respect, a lack of scruples."

Romario, who appeared unshaven and wearing a sleeveless top, said the money spent on stadiums so far was enough to provide "8,000 new schools, 39,000 school buses or 28,000 sports courts in the whole country".

Brazil has been hit by a wave of nationwide protests as it stages the eight-team Confederations Cup, which is considered a dry run for next year's World Cup. The amount of money spent on stadiums is among the protestors' many grievances.

The World Cup will be staged in 12 stadiums, either built from scratch or completely refurbished. Brazil is spending around 28 billion reais (£8.1 billion) on the event.

"The money spent on the Mane Garrincha stadium in Brasilia could be used to build 150,000 houses for low income families," said Romario, who said he was speaking as "Romario the Brazilian" rather than as a footballer or politician.

"But no, we spent 1.5 billion reais on a stadium. Is it beautiful? Yes. Is it practical? Not really. But another thing is that after the Confederations Cup, some things will have to be re-done, because they didn't work out, and a few new things will have to be added for the World Cup."

"The real president of our country is FIFA," he added. "FIFA comes to our country and sets up a state within a state.

"FIFA will make a profit of four billion reais which should provide one billion in tax, but they will not pay anything. They come, set up the circus, they don't spend anything and they take everything with them."
Brazil's Congress has passed a bill which exempts FIFA from paying tax on profits in Brazil. It was one of the conditions FIFA made when Brazil was awarded the right to stage the event.

"Since Brazil was awarded the World Cup in 2007, things have gone off the rails," Romario added.
"The budgets that were made for stadiums, airports and urban mobility were all wrong, and it's the people who pay the bill."

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Brazil beats Mexico but there is louder message in Italy blasting Japan

Neymar is pure class and very much immature. He has a lot to learn and some distance to cover to the levels of Lionel Messi. That is as far as the over game is concerned but his technique is exquisite. Tactically he will surely mature and be a better player, hopefully. He reminds one of the young 'Iron' Mike Tyson, Raw and Uncut.

It is sometimes too early for these youngsters to get then hype and then they live under the shadow of expectation under-delivering yet being idolised like Wayne Rooney, whose roof was never reached and he stagnated in growth but we keep singing praises for his glimpses of a what might have been.

Brazil beat Mexico despite a spirited performance of one of my favourite players in the world today (well since 2009), Giovanni Dos Santos. It was that pure class of the 21 year old Neymar that was hugely the difference. Dani Alves received a pass after some fancy footwork on the right, delivered a cross that was deflected high.
Now, this is the coaching point part.

Neymar had to orient himself to locate the goal, and his bearing changed every second as his target had a barrier, the goalkeeper. There was men attending to him and hungering for the same ball. The Brazilian had to make his run, simultaneously keeping his eyes on the ball whose trajectory was not completely defined. Despite physical contact that could put him off, he gained his balance, arms wide, making a good selection of the controlling surface, shepherding the ball into space with his chest, planting the non-kicking football slightly behind the possible dropping point of the ball, curling his body over to lean forward and hitting that ball hard midway through its centre at the top half. His angle and power had to be right and the rest is history.

That goal can be crudely mirror-imaged with the first of the tournament, where that came from his left, but was chested by a team-mate onto his path. He cannoned the ball, then with his right foot. The technique of striking the ball was wholly similar. Hi move to Barcelona has made people start talking about his combination with Messi but bot because of the goals.

Neymar received the ball on the left and quickly left a defender by his first positive touch, sweeping past the other two by his acceleration before his sudden change of pace and direction in the box left two more defenders for dead. He laid the ball across for Jo to finish. That was class. That was the match in brief. It is the speed and finish that is frightening and with Messi, that will be more than a job and a half to contain an attack.     

Many people did not see Japan beating Italy. That changed with the first penalty of the match converted by Honda and the spectacular Kagawa special. Frankly, it was not the goals that swayed the votes, but the gusty performance that was full of self belief and zeal to win. The Italians were themselves more than surprised. They were afraid, very afraid. With half-time approaching, anyone stopping Pirlo and Mario Balotelli could be excused for celebrating but that was a little too much too early.

Pirlo sent in a corner kick that was converted by the head. From there on, thing were never going to be the same for the Asians. Some players thought they could do it while others thought, maybe not. Even from the same positive players, the doubts start to fly in the head and that is exactly what the Europeans thrive on.
The penalty converted by Balotelli and the own goal wrote the beginning of the end of a Cinderella story in the making. That winner was always coming after that and it was more than a win but a statement to say Italy mean business. For many, they were dead and burried, and maybe so, but if they can rise to see another day be very afraid.

It was value for money to see so many goals but the Neymar strike, priceless!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Balotelli climaxes at his best in hitting the spot

In a least of Pizza, Andrea Bochelle, Luciano Pavarotti and the comedy, Home Sweet Home, add Andrea Pirlo and Mario Balotelli. There are other good things about Italy, but that is extravagantly suffice. A top drawer free-kick to open the Italian account on the night from Centurion Pirlo, a midfield general of note since the departure of the Zinedine Zidanes of this world, the maturing Italian marked his 100th cap in a satisfying, for himself, his admirers and foes alike.

It was however Mario Balotelli's man of the match performance from the first minute until his departure, that was the toast of the match. He just underlined the fact with the winner before bowing out. Italy sunk Mexico in a 2-1 at the giant Maracana of Rio de Janeiro.

Manchester United's Javier Hernandez beatt Gianluigi Buffon from the penalty spot minutes after the Pirlo goal for the equaliser after Andrea Barzagli had clumsily bundled Giovanni Dos Santos to the ground. It was the Balotelli goal that came with 12 minutes remaining of normal time as he outmuscled Francisco Rodriguez, raised his head and stabbed the ball past Corona.

What is special about the whole thing is how much he had in the match despite attracting so much attention from defenders. To give you an idea, by the time he made the final contact with the ball before that goal, he was the only Italian against 6 Mexicans inside the penalty area. Many would like to mention that Balotelli was booked for whipping off his shirt, but given that it is official that scoring a goal is more ecstatic than orgasm, people should understand. Nobody plans for orgasm.

Chicharito and Giovanni Dos Santos trouble the Italians all night but it was the experienced former World Cup champions who controlled the matters well till the end.

It was Luis Suarez's free-kick scored with minutes of play left and Xavi's 70 passes in the first half compared to 95 that Uruguay made in total. The world champions won comfortably 2-1 as the South Americans were denied any space. The usual suspects in that Spanish centre park suffocated the influence of Gaston Ramires reasonably well.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Brazil's 3-0 win over Japan is total fluke

Brazil may as well be on course to win this year’s Confederation Cup and Fifa World Cup double. This is in sharp contrast with their fluke 3-0 win over Japan last night. Let me say first why that win was a fluke and then the reason why they may win both trophies.
The victory was courtesy of total naivety of the Asians, and nothing to do with the prowess of the Confed Cup holding gladiators. All the goals were scored in the concentration-lapse windows of minutes after and before restarts. In any case, it was within the parameters of the match being played and all goals count. On another day and at another time, the same goals, all three, could have been easily scored by anyone or by the same token, avoided.
That is not what one expects from Brazil. The Celestiao are known to push the ball around and dominate their matches until they subdue their foes tactically - exactly what did not happen. The South Americans depended on the stage fright of the Japanese for that victory.
Japan walked in there hoping to take matters easy and then compete when the match was ripe. They did not live to see that moment. Before half the team had touched the ball, there was a goal. It was a super goal by Neymar, given the inexperience of the youngster and accuracy of the strike, but how it came by was shocking.
A case of easy loss of possession by Japan and a poor ‘chest’ control by Fred, probably a handball, led the ball to drop in the path of a charging Barcelona-bound Neymar who took a volley in his stride, connecting well to unleash a slightly curled shot to the far post from outside the box.
Let me spare you the details. The thing is, it was just 3 minutes after kick-off. There was sterility in terms of goals and performance until half-time. Again, within 3 minutes of the restart, Japan were still sleeping and Brazil pounced. Without duplicating myself, there was sterility in terms of goals and performance until full-time, the 90th minute. Again, Japan slumbered and Brazil, again pounced in almost 3 minutes of injury time.
Both sets of coaching stuff will not be happy. Fillipe Scolari of Brazil will be wondering; what if the visitors stayed awake from start to finish. The visitors’ mentor will curse his theory of playing a waiting game. He had hoped to match Brazil’s play in the middle of the park but the ball was played on the periphery of the Garrencha Stadium pitch.
Just for a picture, the ball came from the right, the position of Dani Alves, to Julio Ceaser and/or David Luiz, to Marcelo on the left and then Neymar to Fred at the front and then to Oscar on the left and Dani Alves again, leaving a void in the middle. That sequence would reverse itself once in a while all night, eliminating Honda and Kagawa's performance, Japan’s most influential players.
That fact makes Brazilians very dangerous. They are not blessed with an array of talent and many of their current squad players are over-rated, save for Marcelo, Alves and David Luiz. I know you think Oscar is top-notch but I don’t buy that; not yet. Julio Ceaser plays for a relegated team in the English Premiership and that is not a world-class performer. Therefore, what makes them an item?
It is the composition of their technical team. Scolari has decades of national team and international football experience in his time with the same team, Portugal and Chelsea. He has a Fifa World Cup medal around his neck. What he did was exceptionally clever and courageous, to romp up an even more experienced mentor in Carlos Alberto Parreira. For the sake of his status, they changed his title to Technical Coordinator and not Assistant coach. Parriera is the most experienced coach in the world at this level, having more Fifa World Cup appearances than any coach and a winners’ medal too.
Besides the accolades and the decorated CVs, these guys are shrewd. They are the world’s best. Not that they can make cows play football, but with the average players they have, Brazil is genuine contenders for the historic double. They become the last team anyone would choose to play. It would be a bonus if Neymar comes to the party as he almost did last night. There are good signs he will.
Besides the home soil advantage with their fans’ support, the carnival atmosphere and celebrations, the familiar playing grounds, family and friends and language, the pride, the status, players like Neymar trying to prove a point, that technical team of Scolari and Parreira with the richcombined experiences and World Cup appearances and victories, the Brazil brand is one to bank on.
This is besides the crazy statistical data of Fifa World Cups, Confed, and regional championships, nor the over 10000 professionals playing overseas, 6000 football teams and over 16 million registered players they can choose from their starting eleven. There is over 160 million Brazilians anyway but that is just numbers too.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Highlanders fans can assist raise club funds easily

After the hype, funfare and aplomb of the BancABC-cum-ESport-cum-Adidas Highlanders/Dynamos replica jersey deal, the reality of delivery over speeches is hitting the Bosso fans who await the first sight of the promised good. It is claimed Dynamos started selling their wares last week. The clubs went into a deal that would see the fans fork out $50.00 for the benefit of $3.50 for their clubs.

Many hoped to snap the jerseys upon delivery but the spirits have been dampened by the unspecified delays. Questions have been raised as to how the Hararians got their stock but as usual; there will be no speculation from our quarters. 

It interested many people how we suggested fans can don the shirts for less. The idea was to raffle a jersey for a $1.00 with 100 tickets. That way, the club would net $53.50 per item going to the club. The little knowledge gained from the experience of being Technical Advisor of the biggest club in Zimbabwe showed me how difficult it may be to do business with the club. The Highlanders FC Executive Committee members are busy people having to run their lives, families, jobs and the club.

The least that can happen is that they accept donations of cash collected or given by well-wishers. Even that is a process. The issue is that nobody is in a position to take unilateral decisions. The complication extends further if there are sponsors involved. The approval of the board is not a mean feat either.

Given that, at this point, all should be aware the club is said to be entering 'good times' with things on the horizon. Many people are working tirelessly behind the scenes. It is the scenes that we want to dwell on. Efforts to form a Highlanders Football Club Supporters Association were fruitful and theirs was driven by the Facebook Group of the same name.

For the benefit of the club and the followers, it this Group that must just try to take the bull by the horns, make money and donate to the club, say FORCE it into the club. The group can get the replicas and raffle them as part of their own mandate outside club structures. A turn-off for many has been how there has always been an issue with making money for Bosso.

Discussions that there was people who sold the club colours and merchandise without anything being donated or offered to the club - like these selling flags, T-shirts, badges, hats on the streets and stadia. The self-propelled entrepreneurs are visionary and energetic but they operate outside the mandate of the club for their enrichment. The club seems content with that. There is a claim of a Bosso car wash which may or may not be linked with the club.

If a constituted body like the supporters association took it upon themselves to regularise and officalise the operation, they would hit a brick wall. Acting on their own, they will be brandished dissidents working without the blessing of the club, yet they work to benefit the club. That is however the only way out.

Bongani Mafu. a prominent and highly qualified coach who I worked with in educating coaches years back was full of wonder. "I keep failing to understand something here. I thought if a group wanted to raise money and buy say footballs for the club, they just go ahead and raise the funds, buy the targeted equipment then approach the executive with a concrete object. Why would there be need for a 'blessing' to raise funds?"

This point surely came at a point when a group of individuals had to ask for the 'blessings of the club' to assist the Clubhouse, and the project stalled as a result. Many may not wish to recall a car that was donated to the club for use by the coach and the donation was unwelcome somehow.  

He goes on to say "People have donated money and equipment to Bosso before. I am positive none started by getting permission to do so. People must get organised, donate the monies somehow as a group and buy the equipment!".  His suggestion even went further to a point of approaching the company selling what is to be bought so donations would go straight to the club rather than coming from individuals.

People wanting to suggest or give advice to the Executive waste a lot of time. That committee has a constituted mandate to fulfill and their tasks are measured in terms of time rather than delivery. They enter history books whatever the outcome of their tenure, unfortunately.

Robert Ndlovu was however of the opinion that the club is not a ‘charity case’ and therefore should not depend on donations. While true, this fact has been sysnonymous with the club as hand and glove. “The club has capacity to self-sustain if they use their brand properly. Don’t give a man fish. Teach him how to fish. When people live on donations they become lazy. Just a fact”.

There would be support for this. “It is the management that should come with a massive turn-around strategy to ease the financial woes of the club even if it means selling the club assets.” In fact, I share the opinions but just. If possible, someone could have done this decades ago.

The truth is, with or without fishing tools and skill, Bosso cannot or will not not fish. That one hard fact that is incomprehensible. It is the same with many executives since Ndumiso Gumede's days when the club managed to buy the properties it has to date – the office, the clubhouse and the house in Luveve. Bosso cannot come up with a plan. That sounds harsh too. Given a plan, they cannot implement it at all somehow. You may ask what they can do then. I can confirm that they can spend the money, which is the reason why they will do with donations.

The clubhouse utilisation is said to have a long term solution with solid plans in the pipeline, to the club and we await further details. With or without the board and club executive committee blessings, it would be prudent for the owners of the club, the fans, to use the club's name to raise funds for the club. There is no fraud there. Fraud would be running the club dry, especially a brand like Bosso.

One hopes the jerseys will arrive, the supporters will do what they want and pump the money into the club coffers. BancABC should also pull up their socks and supply alternative kits for the team to avoid embarrassing situations like the one that saw the team 'borrow' a kit. It could be just incompetence on the part of the management in which case, it is not acceptable.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What Highlanders need right now!

(Unrevised) What Highlanders need right now! Over two years now, this titled post was popular, ushering a new club executive after a tumultuous Themba Ndlela term. Tumultuous in terms of debts and financial woes that were not of any man's making. Schemes to raise a dollar per head and so many ideas and proposals were thrown around. All it was, was just ideas. It remained ideas and it is still ideas to date.

One such idea was a book or bulletin that was produced under the name 'What Highlanders need right now!' was meant to raise issues about the club's finances and ideas of what can be done, while making cash for the club. It was a short cut to blah blah blah, but that was exactly what happened to it - cut short.

The copy of the book was sent to the club office and two phone calls were made to the Chairman and the Secretary General about the idea of the project. The book was meant to clear any doubts of the intention. The response is still to come and the club finances are still the same.

It is understood that there is a question of the integrity of whoever can lead the project. In short, the problem is that I can make cash in the name of the club and run away. Maybe not run away, because where is there to run and how fast will I need to do that at my age.

The idea was simple. While throwing wide wild and green ideas of what the club and fans can do to assist the growth of the club purse wellness, that process was meant to generate funds on its own. Reading about what one can do, what others did and are planning to do, as well as anticipating how things may shape up, would cost about $10, of which $5 would go to the club. The book would contain future plans for the club.

The advantage of this was very simple. From here, it is very easy to see, observe, critique and criticise, without fear or favour. This is what we try to do, but without losing focus or the objective. All the powers that be need to do is take what is workable and implement it. That would surely need the support of the fan-base, but they executive needed to take a leading role.

As part of lobbying and criticising our fans and our contribution to the cause, it may sound harsh but in the hard talk there are benefits. The last story we did about replica jersey would have qualified for the next book just well. In that way, records of things intended or done are captured for life. Generations to come would see how committed we were for the cause and love for iBosso.

All hope is not lost. Readers of this forum, few as they maybe, take upon themselves to print and forward the ideas to the executive. And survy as they are, they will listen and take action. The project may benefit me and make me very rich. Who cares if the team is richer. At this moment that I am not going to bed hungry, the club coffers tell a different story. Without looking at what happens to my pocket, the focus must be on the club's gain.

This raises eyebrows and that is exactly the point. I will not lie or pretend that I will donate all the money to the club. The reason why I am not a billionaire is being too frank and I love it. I rather tell it bare and lose than fake and gain. I always advocated that the club must engage even greedier people to enter business in partnership.

The weakness of the leadership and fans alike is the love for saints. The good people who are polite and generous. That must stop. The only way to succeed is have people who love money, those who will spend sleepless night chasing the dollar and will never allow their coin slide under the door of a neighbour. While ensuring the scruples of the business, these people must be ruthless in dealing with debt. They must be those whose life depends on it.

The old-fashioned love of the bourgeoisie is extinct. The pride of loving Bosso that is broke and shameful is useless and pathetic. The team deserves lovers who die for it when chips are down or the tide is up. Those who will pay and contribute generously and guard their interests jealously.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Bosso can afford to dress fans the replica jersey for a $1

Putting this to bed, the deal of replica jerseys by Adidas for Highlanders and Dynamos will spurn three years and thousands of fans are expected to get the regalia of their favourite team in this period of time. Comparison with the acquisition of the shirts between Bosso and Dynamos will always be pop-up as these teams always compete on all fronts. 

While there is not much details of how much the whole deal is worth for Highlanders Football Club, there is a question of whether it is a deal between BancABC and Adidas or between Adidas and clubs. Whatever the case, many believe that the issue is immaterial. It is thought that courting Adidas into this deal is a coup on its own. For us who do not believe in a half a loaf, we may sound sceptical but in all truth, it is worthwhile.

So far, the role of a mediator company's role is extremely being down-played. The present picture painted has it that Adidas provides, through sponsors BancABC, the playing kit, the training kit, the warm-up tracksuits, sneakers as well as balls - which could be both match and training balls.

The initial 2500 shirts are said to be available for each team to sell and pocket $8750.00. Many viewed the figure of $3.50 per shirt as little. After all, comparing to genuine Bafana Bafana, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates shirts, the $50.00 is not a bad deal. It may be worth finding out how much Pirates gets from Adidas, but then, Bosso and Pirates are oceans apart. However, a Pirates fan has a more conducive economic environment to juggle his income and expenditure figures.

As always in this forum, we are never short of ideas for the struggling Zimbabwean fan. More precisely, we always have solution for the Bosso family. While it is appreciated these do not get to the office, it is worth trying to send a note there. One day these things may be taken seriously and the club may sing a different tune.

The first thing, the Zimbabwean mentality is way different compared to the world. This is due to the education system. Zimbabweans think at extremes in terms of what is good money and what it takes to earn the money. Making a $1 in a while can only be done by begging. The sums of many $1 is never beyond the $1. Figures never lie.

For starters, Bosso can devise a system that is less labour intensive but less exciting in making their fans wear these replica jersey for a $1 or two. The match tickets are about $3 each. Many people struggle if they have to watch the match for $5, especially if they will get the same stuff whether they pay $3 or $5. What the club may do, is to sell the raffle tickets parallel to the match fee, say $1. That could mean one or every home match, 2500 fans would win themselves replica jerseys at a cost of $1. I wouldn't mind.

Few jerseys could be raffled each match day to maintain the excitement. The problem here could be the number of tickets not making much cash compared to the cost of jerseys, but it depends on mechanisms built around the process. 

A better but labour intensive way would be to let 2 or 3 people take the jersey to every portion of the stadium sitting a 100 fans, sell 100 tickets for say $1 at half-time, make an instant draw and give away the jersey. That would be $100 for a jersey on the spot. The winner dons a genuine $50 Bosso jersey for a $1. Others may even cry for an 'enchoe!' 

This process means there would have to be many Bosso people around the stadium doing this in a short space of time - 15 minute half-time. This can be a tradition that the team may cultivate and give away many other products. Either way, fans will don jerseys for less and losing $1 in trying to get a $50 replica jersey is not much of a loss. Many would actually donate much more, some even their lunch for the love and worthy cause of iBosso.