Friday, March 9, 2007

Diggin in the Dirt ... or Man, I'm tired!

I scour the wires for news and information so you don’t have to. I am a willing & humble volunteer.
Here’s some of the excitement I found:

- FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, finally lifted its five-month ban on the Kenyan Football Federation (KFF) Friday after securing a promise that the government wouldn’t intervene in the running of the sport in the country.
A crisis committee is being set up by Kenya’s government to run football in the East African nation.

Kenya’s been in hot water with FIFA for some time. They were banned from international competition for such outlandish acts as having two rival domestic leagues competing at the same time.
Kenya is now free to continue their qualification schedule for the African Cup of Nations. They’re set to face off against Swaziland in Nairobi on March 24th.
Good news for Kenya. Corruption had been the name of the game for some time. I’ve been told the talent level is high in this proud nation. Time will tell if the implementation of this committee will solve some of the ills of the KFF.

- Egyptian giants and current African Champions League holders Al-Ahly face off against European champions Barcelona in a friendly match in Cairo, due to be played between May & August.
Ahly celebrate 100 years of existence next month, a period that’s seen them win 99 trophies! That’s a lot more than Real Madrid.
Barcelona are expected to receive nearly $2 million for playing the match fielding a strong squad, including stars such as Ronaldhino, Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto’o.
Ahly played Barca’s bitter rivals Real Madrid in 2001, beating the 9-time European champions 1-0 despite Madrid fielding such stars as Raul, Luis Figo & Zinedine Zidane.

- So yes, I did watch the bitter contest between Valencia and Inter Milan in the Champions League Tuesday. My thoughts? David Navarro needs to be suspended for a lengthy period of time. A sucker punch such as Navarro’s on Inter’s Nicolas Burdisso can’t be accepted or tolerated. It’s fitting justice if Navarro gets suspended for the duration of this season. Honestly, I hope to never see him again in a Che uniform. But that’s another story.

The situation got out of hand before the sucker punch though, when Inter’s players intervened in Valencia’s celebrations. There was a lot of pushing, shoving and near fisticuffs. The episode exploded upon Navarro’s interference but only got worse after Inter’s players wouldn’t let the situation die down.
News cameras showed scenes of bedlam near Valencia’s locker room, with Esteban Cambiasso wrestling a police officer to get in and Milan’s reserve keeper Francesco Toldo actually making it inside.
In no way do I condone the actions of the Valencia players, simply because I am a fan.
But I hope UEFA, the European governing body, sees that both clubs were at fault. I hope they see that the situation wasn’t perpetuated by just Valencia players.
If they see that, they can access a fair, balanced punishment. And ban Navarro for a long time.

- So what do you all think of the UEFA Champions League draw?
It's going to be an interesting tournament on the road to the Final in Athens, Greece. The draw was quite favorable to the English sides, who were spared facing each other. Could we have an all-England Final? We'll see.

I see Liverpool getting past PSV, Manchester United besting Roma and Milan sneaking (and diving?) past Munich. Which leaves me with Chelsea-Valencia.
It’s an intriguing, tactical match-up that should go down to the last minutes at the Mestalla April 10/11. The matches could feature some of the best African players in the world, with the potential to see Didier Drogba, Jon Obi Mikel, Michael Essien, Salomon Kalou and Geremi in action, all playing for Chelsea.
It’s a good match and I’m keen to see how Valencia challenges the ball-controlling movements of Essien and the balanced defense of John Terry.
It could be a classic, it could be a romp. Let this one ferment some and I’ll get back to you on it.


tomlegg said...

I greeted the news of Kenya's 'conditional' restatement to international football with mixed feelings.
Although it's a step in the right direction, I just can't help but feel it will all come crumbling down over the next few months. One of my main concerns in the continuing ramblings between the KFF-PL and the KPL. I'd like to say I'm an internal optimist when it comes to the county I love so much, but the problem is I know that country too well, thus am fully aware of how most steps forward are immediately followed by two steps back.

Anonymous said...

Francesco Toldo will be at The Free Kick Masters 2007 in Houston, Texas USA on December 22, 2007.
We are considering giving away signed tee shirts, jerseys, balls, etc. and having some contests online. Any suggestions?