Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
A close look at the Jabulani
July 7th, 2010 7:29PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  world cup

MOST COMMENTED

[MY VIEW] You may have heard of that nasty ball -- the Jabulani (means "to celebrate" in isiZulu) – which has generated much nonsense from a handful of players, egged on by eager beaver journalists, about the different qualities of the adidas pill.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter sent me a Jabulani match ball and I can see why the players call it a “beach ball.”

It’s handsome, with a plasticky feel despite tiny surface ribs, like Morse Code dashes or long goose-pimples, added to a completely smooth skin to provide “grip.”

It appears lighter but it has to be within official weight limits to bear the FIFA Approved quality logo.

At the risk of saying what you already know this ball continues the trend of using synthetic casings in place of leather. Adidas says the ball is as near perfection as man can devise “to suit the modern fast game and give the players a ball that is as precise as they are.”

The publicity jargon is “perfectly spherical, aerodynamically tested, with unparalleled accuracy and consistency,” etc. etc.

It has only eight panels, each being spherically molded and thermally bonded, so eliminating the slight stretch flexibility of sewn models. Therein lies the “problem.”

To maintain its shape it needs high pressure, at or near the maximum of 1.1 atmos. “Too hard” say some, particularly when used on hard surfaces. True.

I’ve seen so many matches ruined by hard balls on hard ground. When soccer is played on fields varying from porridge to reinforced concrete it’s not rocket science to advise referees to match the ball pressure to the field surface. That helps players show their skills.

The 2010 fields are mainly loose sods laid on a firm base – hence the “roll-up” and large divots when players slide – so excessive bounce is not a factor.

The “perfect” ball needs perfect striking from “perfect” players. I think the short answer to critics is that the players have not adapted to the hyperactive ball.

Although available for months before the tournament it seems clear the coaches have not insisted on intense practice to make the most of its different characteristics.

We’ve seen many free kicks blasted over the 24x8-foot target from 25 yards by high-profile players who haven’t learned to be more subtle. Also, long passes and crosses are often overweighted, putting target players out of the game and ruining potential goal chances.

In just three matches I noted a total of 56 – yes, 56! – such occasions. Some mastered this ball but it others didn’t adapt in this tournament. We heard many complaints about ball behavior as a smokescreen for imperfect technique.

A few goalkeepers say they have trouble because “the ball wobbles in the air.” But I don’t see this in the many slow-motion replays of shots on goal. It’s probable that the circular rings marked on the ball give an illusion of wobble when it’s spinning.

Ironically, goalkeepers should be happy, given the wild shooting attributed to the mysterious ways of the Jabulani ball.

Players at world level, paid fortunes, ought to be better at their job instead of blaming the tools.

(Stanley Lover is a longtime international referee instructor and author of the recently updated book "Official Soccer Rules Illustrated.")






0 comments
  1. Paul Lorinczi
    commented on: July 8, 2010 at 10:25 a.m.
    You have to learn how to use it. The problem most players are having with it is they are trying to overpower the ball. The force you need to kick a Nike match ball is not needed on these balls. The emphasis on these balls is technique, not power. Once you learn how to use it, it is a great ball. Strikers should be ecstatic with it. It moves, if you hit it right. As far as goalie complaints - who cares! A forward should love it.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
U.S. U-17s boys romp again, beat Turkey, 5-1     
After opening the Nike International Friendlies with a 7-1 win over Portugal, the U.S. U-17 boys ...
U-20 WWC: USA falls to Japan in third-place game     
Japan outshot the USA 29-3 while beating the Americans 1-0 in the third-place game at the ...
U.S. Abroad: Alvarado headed to Santos for Torneo Clausura    
Ventura Alvarado is back in the starting lineup at Mexican giant Club America, which tied Necaxa, ...
U.S. Abroad: Gooch faces three-month layoff    
Sunderland's Lynden Gooch, who made his English Premier League debut in August and U.S. national team ...
What They're Saying: Roberto Assis    
"It is a very difficult time. Later on, if there is a contact, we can talk. ...
Women's College Cup: Upstarts battle former champs    
The Division I women's season is down to its final weekend. Georgetown and West Virginia are ...
MLS Cup Countdown: Stars escape major injuries    
Both MLS Cup finalists had key players limp off in the second legs of the conference ...
MLS Preseason: Tournaments set at three sites    
The 2016 MLS season doesn't wrap up for another week, but teams are already finalizing plans ...
What They're Saying: Gareth Southgate    
"The days are gone from when I was younger where we did have beers after a ...
MLS Moves: Minnesota signs first two players    
MLS expansion team Minnesota United signed a pair of defenders -- Justin Davis and Kevin Venegas ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives