Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Ki ne ko o o!
Yes, the Jubilani War is over and it’s time to do a post-war analysis. Over to you, once again, Chief Ademoyega.
Thank you. Actually there isn’t much to say other than to let you have some snippets about what has made this 2010 World Cup a very interesting and unforgetable event. My intention is to take you on a roller coaster ride down the Table Mountain and see how the different teams had fared and to show one or two lessons accruing from the 30-day fiesta. However, I want to digress a little to go down memory lane. First and foremost I want to congratulate the Zulu and the Xhosa for waging the jabulani war otherwise known as the 2010 Woza World Cup. Azania, their ancestral home, had been the theatre of war for 30 days and many elephants had trampled on their sacred turf causing a lot of direct and collateral damage. Within this war they successfully fought the war of nomenclature — whether the ball’s name should be spelt jabulani or jubilani or jebalawin. Can you imagine? But so liberal are they that they gave their nod for any one chosen, be it jabulani or jubilani or jebalawin or, even, jagunlabi or whatever. Hence the confusionist theories of nomenclature which pervaded media reports right from Cape Town to Cape Kennedy and from Port Elizabeth to Port Said. Second is the fight over the origin and use of vuvuzela, the noise making device, supposedly native to the South Africans. This was very interesting and, as a FIFA archivist, I had to dig deep into this high decibel controversy. My findings show that different groups lay claim to the copyright. The Zulu, for instance, say vuvuzela is a descendant of their traditional kudu horn, a type of instrument created from the horn of a kudu antelope which they used to communicate with one another in those days when human eyes were located on knees! Members of the Shembe Church also known as Nazareth Baptist Church of South Africa also claim the vuvuzela was introduced in 1910 by one of them, Prophet Isiah Shembe (founder of the church), to play alongside African drums when they dance and worship. It was a way of indigenising and enlivening the somewhat plastic, frigid lithurgy of the orthodox religions. It was a musical fusion that worked like magic on depressed souls. The third group are the Chinese who lay claim to having a similar bugle which their forebears used to drive away locusts on their farms, something akin to a scarecrow. Today, they have perfected the art of making about 200,000 plastic vuvuzelas per day. And they are, as Niagarans would say, smiling to the banks. By the way, who cries to the bank? Many of the vuvuzelas you saw on television were made in China. But neither the noise making nor the exhibitionist show of faith by most African teams at the beginning, middle and end of matches won games for them.
Ki ne e ko!
Yes, it’s time but the race is not always for the swiftest (Usain Bolt must not hear that). If it were, Uruguay, the weakest of the six South American teams would not have been the only semifinalist where Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Honduras were expected to hold sway. But they all fell like mortally wounded elephants. Among the African teams Ivory Coast was adjudged the best before the World Cup started but it could not survive in the group of death. Ghana was equally in a dangerous zone but it survived. As fate would have it, Ghana was the first country to be awarded a penalty kick which it utilised to beat Serbia. Yet it was a penalty shootout that put paid to its ambition to become the first African nation to reach the semi-final. Thus, the Osagyefo boys ended their journey the way they started. Penalty in, penalty out. However FIFA has noted that those countries that invested in youth performed exceptionally well. Rewind the tape and see how both Ghana and Germany went on the rampage chasing their opponents all over the field like drunken bulls. Indeed, the future of soccer is in the legs of genuinely young players not fabricated youths with surplus overaged gangling (read dangling) legs that have sired many football heroes before the Woza World Cup. But the Germans overshot the runway in their bid to win the cup the fourth time. They relied too much on superstition. Like Macbeth and the three witches, they seemed to have had their destiny locked up in the crystal ball of Paul, the octopus, who doubled as their “babalawo” with an unusual psychic power. He had predicted that Spain, their semi-final opponents, would defeat them though they (the Germans) had a seemingly unstoppable machine against any foe. Alas, the fear of failure rendered them impotent on the day that mattered most. It was a cagey, unusually ultra-defensive German team that faced the extremely mobile Spaniards in that encounter. They (the Spaniards) did not stay back like matadors taunting drunken bulls in Madrid. Instead they charged like battering rams at the Germans who, uncharacteristically, refused to come out smoking and firing on all cylinders as they did against Australia, Ghana, England and Argentina. Rather, they came out with their tails tucked between their legs. Their eight-legged “voodoo priest” had instilled fear in their brain! Even their coach was also caught up in the psychic “go slow” drama. He would not change his “magic” blue sweater even if it was smelling of stale cologne! The “sea prophet”, no doubt, had turned every German into “mumu” (prisoner of superstition). They were too “octopussy” for my liking.
Ki ne e ko!
Yes, it’s time to look further away from the octopoid psychic saga that is as surreal as James Bond’s Octopussy or Goldfinger or Dr. No. The most talked about stars were no where to be found. Rooney was just roaming the field like a blind man in a blind alley. Ronaldo had a goal dry-spell and could only use his back to smuggle a goal in against the North Koreans who may have ended up in jail for disgracing “The Leader,” Kim Sung II, for conceding a tsunami of goals in the competition. And how about Messi? The poor boy thoroughy messed up himself with his unprofitable mesmerising moves on the periphery of the 18-yard box. No thanks to Enyeama, the super goalie of the super flop eagles, who “stole” his confidence when they met on June 12. How’re the mighty fallen! But it was not Messi alone that messed up... We also messed up. One day NFF was killed and buried. The second day ghosts sauntered out, a la Michael Jackson’s Thriller, to sack some of the killed and buried executives. The third day government unburied and unkilled the already killed and buried NFF. And FIFA, same day, returned the red card to its breast pocket. No more sanctions. And everybody smiled. Government magic! Fela must be laughing in his grave.
Ki ne e ko!
Yes, it’s time to shout. Viva Blatter! Fifa Jonathan! The more we look, the less we see.