Friday, May 28, 2010

The Penalty shot

Last night I watched my second soccer game in my quest to understand the game and to find some sort of appreciation for it. After two games I still don't have any favourite or less-favourite players in the Bafana Bafana side. Besides, at this stage I cannot even pronounce half of the team's names yet. One dude that stood out like a sore thumb though, and emphasis on "sore", was Bafana Bafana's goalkeeper, Ithumuleng Khune. Now I have one suggestion to the coach, Mr Carlos Alberto Parreira . If one of our compatriates brings our country's name into such disrespute again, please take the guy off the field immediately or just shoot him right there and then. You see, in Africa we have a saying, "Africa has no place for sissies", and if this gentlemen is going to perform like a baby every time his wind gets knocked out by an opponent, then he does not have a place on this continent. And to the commentators that remarked after this incident that the Colombians have "bravery and courage written all over them", please guys, take some time and watch this video below, THESE guys have bravery and courage written all over them, not a bunch of soccer players that did just as much crying as the South Africans did. Take that guy Giovanni Morena for instance...OK, let's not go there.

Another thing that I learned from watching my second soccer game is that this acting works much better when you do it right in front of your opponents goals. Khune's Oscar-winning performance was a waste of valuable time. You see, if you can do the fly-through-the-air manoeuvre like that dude from Colombia did in front of Bafana Bafana's goals then you are in for business. The penalty shot seems to be a much easier way to get a score on the board, much easier than the corner, the free kick or the normal skilled dribbling through your opponents line of defense. But still, even here you have a 50/50 chance of getting the ball into the net or not. All you have to do is to mislead the goalkeeper by means of obscure body language on which direction you are going to kick the ball. If the goalie jumps to the right you surprise him by kicking  to the left. An easy goal. Should he be a master at reading body language and jump to the left as well, well then you have just wasted your only opportunity for an easy point. Oh no, I remember now, you might get another opportunity, depending on the referee....

To all the other teams out there, remember the following. If you ever play against an African team, make sure that the referee is not from Africa too. You see we are all brothers in Africa and we stick together when it comes to soccer as well. The referee from Kenya, Mr Samwel Kipngetich  handed out yellow cards to the Colombians like it was sweets at a Kiddies Christmas Party. How many cards can one keep in a shirt pocket anyway? And how many opportunities can a team get when they miss the first penalty? I might not be an expert regarding soccer, but I can see when a ref is either biased or just incompetent..and this referee was both, despite the fact that I also believe that Africans should unite. (Read this, FIFA is going to drop another Kenyan referee if you ask me). But like another commentator commented after the game when he was asked to give his opinion on a game that was a bit "controversial" and was "decided only by penalty kicks", I alos believe a "A win is a win".

So after two games I still think it is a game of luck, only this time South Africa's luck was not in their kicking but more in the guy that was asked to ref the game. I also think that Mr Parreira  might have read my previous post, because there was much less senseless passing of the ball and much more kicking towards the net. However, for guys who kick balls for a living, their direction and aimless attempts were disastrous to say the least. And that goes for both teams. Lastly. What also put a smile on my face and convinced me of my "luck"-theory was the comment that Colombia's coach Eduardo Lara ended his interview with when he was asked on his opinion on Bafana Bafana and their chances in the World Cup. Lara ended his sentence with "...and giving you [Bafana Bafana] a lot of LUCK for the World Cup". I rest my case.

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