Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Sad Realities of a Dream Unfulfilled

This story from the BBC really hit a nerve.

Much like basketball in the inner-cities of the United States, football is seen as a way out of the misery of everyday life around the world. In Africa, it's a ticket to Europe, to more money and to opportunity unseen at home for many young kids.

Most Ivorian kids dream of becoming the next Didier Drogba, of making loads of money playing football abroad. Sadly, the reality is that people are willing to exploit these dreams for their own ends.

International Organization for Migration (IOM) spokeswoman Jemini Pandya said, 'This dream of going to Europe as a footballer is a very big one in West Africa - footballing is a real passion.

'If anyone comes up and says that they think that they'll be able to get talented young footballers into these teams they will take a chance and go for it and that's clearly what's happened.'

It's so sad that this occurs. But it does, probably more often than we're aware. And another kid goes on with his dream unfulfilled.

-- On a lighter note, this story by Arash Markazi (who does a lot of quality football writing) from had me smiling.

It's a talk between Boise State's Ian Johnson, a college football player who scored the winning two-point conversion in this season's Fiesta Bowl (and subsequently proposed to his cheerleader girlfriend on national TV) and Chelsea's Didier Drogba. Apparently Johnson is a huge Drogba fan (aren't we all?).

I think it humanizes both players and makes us realize that deep down, we're all fans.

I especially like when John Terry gets on the phone but can't concentrate because he's playing a video game. Maybe that explains those defensive lapses?
Make sure to check this out.

-- Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira and South Africa were brought back down to earth when they lost a friendly to Bolivia 1-0 at home on Wednesday.
According to news reports, Parreira chose to start the game with the same side that had played so admirably in beating Chad 3-0 in Saturday's Nations Cup tie in N'Djamena.

On the back of that result, many expected this game to be a walk in the park for Parreira's men.

But Bafana Bafana and their supporters were stunned after just 19 minutes when Bolivian striker Joselito Vaca's shot deflected off midfielder MacBeth Sibaya into the back of the net.

Tough result for the South Africans that shows they have a lot of work to do before the Cup in 2010.

-- Vagner Love's first-half goal gave Brazil a 1-0 win over Ghana in a friendly match at the Rasunda stadium in Stockholm, Sweden Wednesday.

The CSKA Moscow striker scored in the 17th minute, after a Ronaldinho corner was headed on by Kaka.

Ghana's Haminu Draman was sent off with 11 minutes left after he was given a second yellow card for pulling down Daniel Alves outside the box.

The game was a rematch of last year's second-round World Cup clash. Brazil won that match 3-0.

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