Friday, June 27, 2014

All in one rhythm

sports: ground reality

2014 FIFA World Cup (12 June – 13 July 2014)

Whether you like football or not, you will probably find it hard to avoid the fact that the biggest tournament of one of the most popular team sports in the world is currently underway in Brazil. People all over the globe are transfixed in front of their television sets, eager to watch soccer’s biggest stars in action. And while Pakistan may not be participating in the game, we do have our own special connection to the World Cup. Here’s a quick look at some of the elements of the tournament:

The attention of the world turns to South America, as the República Federativa do Brasil (the Federal Republic of Brazil) hosts the 20th edition of the FIFA World Cup, making this the second time the country is hosting the competition (the first being in 1950). 32 teams are taking part in a total of 64 matches that are being held at 12 venues (7 new, 5 renovated) in 12 cities (each the capital of its state) over the course of a month. The Portuguese-speaking Brazil, the world’s fifth largest country, is very enthusiastic about football and is one of its finest competitors, having won the World Cup a record five times.

A blue and yellow armadillo in a white shirt and green shorts is serving as the mascot of this tournament. His name, Fuleco, which was chosen after a three month public voting campaign, is a portmanteau of the words Futebol (Football) and Ecologia (Ecology), reflecting the tournament’s commitment to communicating the importance of the environment and ecology. Fuleco belongs to the vulnerable Brazilian three-banded armadillo species, which is one of only two armadillo species that can roll into a ball; they are known as “tatu-bola” in Brazil, which has also become Fuleco’s affectionate nickname. Fuleco turned 14 on the 1st of January this year, and his official song ‘Tatu Bom de Bola’ has been sung by Brazilian singer Arlindo Cruz. He is friendly, cheerful, and obviously very passionate about football.

The tournament’s official match ball bears a multicoloured design and was developed by Adidas. Its name, also decided by a public vote, is Brazuca, which is a term used by Brazilians to describe “national pride in the Brazilian way of life”. Originally, the ball was supposed to be manufactured in China, but when the demand became more than the original manufacturer could meet, a second supplier was brought in to coproduce the ball. That manufacturer was from our very own Sialkot, a city that has always been well-known for its sports goods. Over the next few weeks, the Adidas Brazuca will be the centrepiece of the activity on field, and we can take pride in knowing that Pakistanis helped make the whole thing possible.

Ole Ola
‘We Are One (Ole Ola)’, the official song of the World Cup, was recorded by Cuban-American rapper Pitbull with guest vocals from Puerto Rican American singer Jennifer Lopez and Brazilian star Claudia Leitte. And the reviews have been less than flattering. The confusingly irrelevant choice of the first two artists instead of Brazilian singers has been criticised; the song’s melody and music have been seen as too generic and pop instead of an homage to Brazil’s rich musical heritage; the lyrics have been described as a bundle of clichés; and the fact that the song doesn’t really have much to do with football or the host nation hasn’t gone down well with spectators. But on the bright side, the effort really has brought the world together, if only to criticise it!

- By Sameen Amer

Us Magazine, The News - 27th June, 2014 *

No comments: