The Ball out of Hell

Presentation of official ball for the FIFA World Cup final

"It’s terrible, horrible. It’s like one of those balls you buy in the supermarket."

Julio Cesar

“It’s a catastrophe. I played with many different balls, some of which wiggled or changed directions, but this one is the worst of them all,”

Vladimir Stojkovic


"The new balls are a disaster. It’s not only a problem for goalkeepers, but also for us strikers.”

Giampaolo Pazzini

I’m not too sure if you’ve heard, but I don’t think anyone is really liking the new Jabulani ball made especially for the World Cup.

And for good cause too, it is a terrible football, which would probably work better as a frisbee than an actual ball for the biggest football competition in the world. But, despite 95% of the football world thinking its a poor excuse for a football, it is still going to be there for the entire duration.

Before you say anything, I do have first hand experience with the football. In fact I’m more than happy to blame a defeat my team had towards the end of the season because of it. After 5 minutes, a free-kick, which was about 30 yards out, was hit. With any normal ball, it would have either hit the wall or went straight into my hands. But, no, that ball had to move all over the place and end up in the top corner. And then, a ridiculous volley from outside the box managed to go in, that player will never score a goal again like it, and I doubt he scored one like it before. The ball is a nightmare.

I know the whole aim is to improve the spectacle, but do you really need to see the football flying around over the place. Its giving the goalkeepers a massive disadvantage in the fact that at times they might as well not turn up. The science behind it is using less panels, featuring grips and grooves in the ball which improve the aerodynamics of the football.

I’ll be honest, I have no idea what that means, but why on earth do the football need to have improved aerodynamics? I understand it for a sport such as Formula 1 to help in overtaking, but football? What was wrong with the footballs that were used 10-20 years ago, they didn’t focus on the aerodynamics as much but I’m pretty sure the same amazing goals were scored, and the same amazing games were played. Will the Jabulani actually improve the game? Not a chance.

Especially with the way the ball behaves at altitude, because of the thinner air, the ball acts as if it is a plane trying to take off. Lets be honest, I think we all know some of the shots in the stadiums at Rustenburg and Bloemfontein will be more like Rugby conversions. Which might explain why a rugby stadium is being used in Pretoria then.

Doctor Andy Harland, the developer of the ball, claims that:

"Teams have gone to altitude and you’ve seen comments come out in those circumstances. We’ve said all along it would affect the ball, but it should be said whichever ball you play with at altitude is going to be affected.”

Of course the teams have went to altitude Harland, they need to adjust to the thin air, and as it seems, need to adjust to how the ball performs as well. I don’t think I have ever seen the amount of players complain about a football at altitude this bad before. Were they complaining in Germany? Were they complaining in South Korea and Japan? I could go on, but I won’t.

In short, the football should go back to being simple. Give the goalkeepers a chance since at the moment the only chance of saving them is seemingly if the striker scuffs a shot. Give the strikers a chance, as it seems as if its more pot luck if they score. The football won’t be ruined, but the final product, the part where everyone takes notice, where the YouTube videos are made of, will be.


Posted on June 3, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Hmm. It’s a tough one. Goalkeepers are a foot taller (on average) than they were when the goal sizes were first regulated, so less goals are probably scored nowadays.

    You could argue that this is like asking Bridgestone to make bad tyres I suppose…

    Having said that, I seem to recall this isn’t the first time a ball has been criticised before a competition. I think people will just get used to it, although I am sure it will be used as an excuse when a team lets in a goal too many…

    • Oh it will be, exactly as when I used it as an excuse to why we got beat ;). They will probably get used to it but I don’t think it will stop the complaining, especially by me.

  1. Pingback: Everybody’s Talking About It « Smarter Than Your Average

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