Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sepp Blathering about African Football

Fifa boss Sepp Blatter is one of those guys with no inner dialogue. Anything that pops into his head comes right back out of his mouth. If he were anyone else -- you know, a guy who was held responsible for saying silly things after he'd said about a thousand of them -- he would lose his job as Fifa president and be doing commentary on ESPN-Switzerland.

Now we have Sepp making generalizations about African football, and when Sepp starts making global generalizations he is sure to say something he perhaps means as a compliment (no, really) and it comes out sounding like anything but.

So, here is the link to the story of Sepp yakking during a video press conference from Zurich the other day.

The most interesting thing Sepp said is this:

That African football players have more skill than "even Brazilians and Europeans" ...

So why do they struggle on the world stage? Sepp knows that one, too. They "lack continuity and good tactics."

There's more:

--Sepp hopes an African team makes the semifinals. Which may be more than a little disturbing, six or so weeks from now, to the non-African team that gets the last African team in the quarterfinals. Will referees remember what the Fifa president wanted? An African team in the semis. And can you imagine the leader of any other major sport expressing that sort of specific competitive result in a sport he runs with an iron hand?

--Sepp is disappointed that three of Africa's six teams (Nigeria, Ivory Coast and South Africa) have changed coaches within the past six months. "Changing coaches at the last minute is not help Africa's cause," Coach Blatter said.

--He also had a bulb go off, apparently, and he told the South Africans listening to the video conference that Bafana Bafana would not advance if they don't score goals. (This, after South Africa played North Korea to a scoreless draw.)

Well, thanks for that insight, Sepp. Except that a team can advance without scoring a goal. (Three scoreless draws, one team in the group wins its other two matches, the other two teams tie each other. Then the three-scoreless-ties team finishes second with three points, behind one team with seven points and ahead of the two with two points. Sheesh. You'd think he knew this.)

We will have more bon mots out of Sepp's mouth before this is over. Count on it.

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