Dynamic, driven, kind, trail-blazing and resilient are some of the words you’ll find yourself using when describing this young woman, Thando Sibiya.
The 2014 Fifa Football World Cup kicks off tonight with hosts Brazil taking on Croatia at 10pm. Wits Vuvuzela has confirmed that screenings of the matches will take place at the following venues in Braamfontein:
The venues will screen games during the day and at night.
Most of the bars and restaurants along 7th Avenue in Melville will also open their doors to soccer fans:
Many of these places are having specials on drinks and food throughout the month of the World Cup.
The Stanley Beer Yard, in 44 Stanley will also screen all of the games at night and stay open till late.
But this year’s hotspots for students and fans are the Biccard Street and De Korte Street (just outside the Easy Hotel) big screens.
Both were “mini” fan parks during the 2010 World Cup and Southpoint management hopes to see the same interest this time around.
Finally, all Wits residences, on and off campus will be screening the games. The Wits Postgrad Club will also screen all games for the enjoyment of staff members, postgraduates and alumni.
TIMELINES on twitter are clogged up by constant sports updates on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
The most tiresome of the bunch are the football ones, random tweets with things like “foul ref!”, “4-3-3” and “what a cross”.
Maybe a little understanding of the so-called beautiful game would lead to less annoyance come kick-off time. I decided to find out what the basics are, so that I too can get angry when people are offside and tweet about it. Along with this I am on a mission, like Will McAvoy, to civilise, to reform the poor spectator abilities of those of us who watch for ‘hunks of the week’ instead of ‘sportsmen of the week’.
Soccer versus football
Firstly there is a whole debate about whether to call it soccer or football, football or soccer.
“It’s fashionable to be angry and indignant at people who call it soccer instead of football, it’s f***ing bullshit” said one dreadlocked enthusiast.
He went on to explain that people have become obsessed with calling it football as a way to defy the Americans. They call it soccer so as not to be confused with their American football, also known as fake rugby.
“Just because European football is considered better, now all of a sudden we want to change what we’ve been calling the game for years, it’s soccer man!” said someone in the newsroom.
Good on those who choose to colour outside of the lines drawn by those in the land of the free, but let’s just stick to local lingo and go for diski.
I went around asking semi-keen people what they were unsure about or wanted clarity on when it came to diski. The responses included “what the hell is offside”, “are the soccer players single?” and “what do those numbers like 3-5-2 stand for”.
The offside rule is actually quite an easy one to wrap your head around and once you do, the game starts making sense.
The FIFA rule book says “It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position. A player is in an offside position if he is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent”.
Student and avid football lover Brendan Zietsman said to imagine this scenario:
“You are at a club and you see a girl/guy you like. Another person has seen the girl/guy too and they have a drink in their hand for that person. Your friend slides you a drink across the bar to give to the girl/guy. It would be wrong of you to step in front of the other person before their drink has left their hand. That is offside”. Simple.
Hotties on the pitch
The second response points to the question on many minds when they watch 22 men running around after a patent leather ball. I will admit that I am one of those people.
When the teams line up I watch out for a hottie to keep my eyes on for the 90 minutes that will follow. Every team has that one player who captivates the imaginations of those of us who aren’t ‘fans’.
3-5-2, 4-3-3 and 4-5-1 are “those numbers” which indicate a team’s planned formation for the game. Formations are used to strategically place players across the field, to enable them to attack and defend in the best ways possible. Now to watch a match to see if I scream “offside” at the television with confidence.
It was the beautiful game played out in spectacular fashion by the fairer sex, and those who watched had no doubt that this was a tournament played at the highest level.
When Japan’s Saki Kamagai blasted her penalty past the US’s Hope Solo to give Japan victory, the world applauded. This year’s Women’s World Cup has been a breath of fresh air. Pundits from all over the world were talking about the quality of football on display.
There was no Suarez-like ‘Hand-of-God-part-two’, there were no incidents when the referees were mobbed for calling the games how they saw them, and apart from one incident in the Brazil – USA match, there weren’t any theatrical dives and attempts to con the referee.
If the Women’s World Cup final was on at the same time as the men’s final, it would be a no brainer which one I would watch.
The women’s game is played at a slower pace, the passing is not as accurate, and the goal keeping and defending would have most first division coaches fuming.
But that is not the point. What the point is, is that it was such a change of pace to simply watch a football match for what it was, without having to wait for Ronaldo or Robben to stop writhing on the ground as if they had just been hit with a battle axe.
A recent study by German sports scientist Martin Lomas confirmed that women do indeed play with more integrity than the men do. He found that men spend an average of 30 seconds longer on the ground than women, and that they take almost 12 seconds longer to leave the field when substituted.
Perhaps it is the obscene amount of money that is poured into the men’s game, resulting in inflated egos. One only has to look at Mario Balotelli’s antics against LA Galaxy (seriously, Youtube it). Others might argue that there is less at stake in the woman’s game. I, however, feel that in the women’s game, the true spirit of football shines through much brighter, and sincerely hope that the Ronaldos of the world were watching and taking notes.