As soon as I saw his name come up, I felt sorry for the guy. I'm referring to the selection of Koffi Codjia, from Benin, as referee for Thursday's African Nations Cup semifinal between Algeria and Egypt.
And now, Sepp Blatter says ...
Posted by Paul Gardner on Jan. 26, 11:44 p.m.
You never really hear much from the guys at FIFA. I don't mean President Sepp Blatter -- we hear from him all the time. But the other top guys -- like the members of the Executive Committee -- don't they ever have anything original, or even faintly controversial to say?
USA 1 Honduras 3: So what?
Posted by Paul Gardner on Jan. 25, 12:33 a.m.
So the USA got beaten, quite badly, by Honduras. Does it matter? Imagewise, maybe - it can't be good for the USA to lose to little Honduras, can it? But does the defeat tell us anything about the USA's World Cup prospects, considering that Bob Bradley used 17 players, only two of whom -- Benny Feilhaber and Jonathan Bornstein, the ...
Can this be D.C. United?
Posted by Paul Gardner on Jan. 22, 8:00 a.m.
No doubt you will all have been excited to find out that this season will mark another first for MLS: its first Australian player. Now there's progress for you.
As jury and judge, should refs consider reputation?
Posted by Paul Gardner on Jan. 20, 1:30 p.m.
The Axel Witsel affair raises a thorny problem, one that that soccer does not handle well. Witsel, a 21-year-old Belgian player from Standard Liege, is facing a two-game suspension for getting himself red-carded during the weekend's derby against local rivals Anderlecht.
Coaches convention keeps us connected
Posted by Paul Gardner on Jan. 19, 8:00 a.m.
Another coaches' convention has come and gone -- and whatever criticism I have of these meetings, there is one positive aspect that must not be ignored.
The Great MLS Super Fantasy Draft
Posted by Paul Gardner on Jan. 15, 12:02 a.m.
Commissioner Don Garber's SuperAddress just before the MLS SuperDraft was appropriately full of SuperLatives, a SuperCharged bravura performance that featured an impressive list of MLS SuperDeeds and a look into the league's glowing SuperFuture.
Hans Backe -- coach No. 11 for the Red Bulls
Posted by Paul Gardner on Jan. 13, 11:21 p.m.
As the latest in a never-ending parade of new coaches for the New York/New Jersey MetroStars/Red Bulls, Hans Backe has at least one claim to originality: he's the first Swede.
Murder ... but the show goes on regardless
Posted by Paul Gardner on Jan. 11, 8:00 a.m.
What can be done about the tragedy in Angola? As that country was preparing to host the African Nations Cup, it was suddenly, and terrifyingly, made clear that the safety of the participating teams cannot be guaranteed.
The Soccer Calvary of Barcelona's Gabriel Milito
Posted by Paul Gardner on Jan. 8, 1:22 a.m.
Back in 1997 I was in Port Said, Egypt, watching an Under-17 World Cup game between Argentina and Bahrain. The Argentine No. 6, the captain, caught my eye. Odd, that, for he was a defender, a center back, and I can usually find more exciting players to concentrate on. But this boy played with tremendous skill and poise, never seemed ...
A 12-year-old up for auction
Posted by Paul Gardner on Jan. 6, 12:21 a.m.
Last week I found myself in a sympathetic mood, so it was quite natural that I should suddenly feel sorry for Barcelona. I was reading of how the club was in imminent danger of losing four young players from its much prized and praised youth division.
FA Cup romance fading fast
Posted by Paul Gardner on Jan. 3, 11:52 p.m.
From England -- well, it would be England, the only country to burden the holiday season with a heavy soccer schedule -- we've been getting the usual new year's stories. All that stuff about the marvels of the FA Cup. How the small clubs can upset the big clubs, and how romantic it all is. Exactly a year ago we ...