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Players complain of World Cup “supermarket” ball
The new Jabulani ball to be used in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa has recieved a lot of negative feedback from players, who compare it to the plastic balls you can buy at a Supermarket.
By: Gil Santos
Jabulani is the name of the ball, which means "to celebrate" in Zulu, but not many are celebrating it so far. It's hard to find a player who is happy with it, and those who don't like it are not saving adjectives to describe their feelings.
When asked about the ball, Brazil striker Luis Fabiano said; “It’s very weird. All of a sudden it changes it’s trajectory on you. It's like it doesn't want to be kicked. It's incredible, it's like someone is guiding it. You are going to kick it and it moves out of the way. I think it's supernatural, it's very bad. I hope to adapt to it as soon as possible, but it's going to be hard.”
During a press conference, Brazil goalkeeper Júlio César who was the first to compare it to those plastic balls bought in a supermarket, called the ball "terrible", while Italy striker Giampaolo Pazzini agreed with him, calling it a "disaster”.
”The ball swerves so much making it difficult to control. You jump up to head a cross and suddenly the ball will move and you miss it”, Pazzini said. “It is even worse for the goalkeepers as they will concede a goal because they can't judge the trajectory”.
Sportswear Company Adidas traditionally launches new balls for each World Cup and they usually cause controversy because of the changes introduced by the new technology. Most of the changes make the ball become faster and goalkeepers are the ones most affected by it. But this time the livelier ball is also causing problems to field players.
Spain’s goalkeeper Iker Casillas, also expressed his anger at the design of the ball after the European champion's 3-2 friendly win over Saudi Arabia on Saturday. "It's sad that such an important competition like the World Cup has such an important element like this ball of appalling condition," he said.
According to Adidas the technology used on the Jabulani is “radically new”. When it was launched in December they claimed the ball would sail true because of small dots on the surface that would help improve reliability in the air. Adidas said the ball would have “an exceptionally stable flight and perfect grip under all conditions”.
The Jabulani ball is made up of 11 colors to represent the players in a team, the 11 official languages and the 11 communities of the host country. Many players are expecting the ball to be affected by the high altitude in Johannesburg and some other host cities. A study by Adidas last year revealed that altitude will have an impact of up to 5% on the ball's speed, meaning that a 20-meter free kick will reach the goal line 5% faster.
Other current news and information about South Africa and the 2010 World Cup can be found at: http://www.2010-
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