We are 10 days away from the world's biggest sporting event and everybody is going wild. The Australian National Team was first to land in South Africa a week ago, joined by Brazil a day after.
Yesterday the U.S. and Argentina landed and this week the rest of the 32 countries will be welcomed by our African representatives who are Nigeria, Algeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana and the host nation South African, which will kick start the tournament on the 11th against Mexico in Soccer City Stadium, Soweto, JB.
The way you can tell that this World Cup is so special is that, for once, Americans are actually talking about it. Yes they are. And maybe it’s because last June the American national team achieved its biggest soccer success ever by reaching the finals of the Confederation Cup, which they lost to Brazil 3-2 after going up 2-0 in the first half. Well that was a surprise and many Americans are hoping that performance will be replicated this month when they face England, Algeria and Slovenia.
How will people watch all the games without breaking their bank accounts purchasing cable and dish network channels? Well, I have few suggestions for you. First, Telemundo the Mexican channel that most people get will broadcast some of the games. I also heard that Channel 7 in Boise will show some of the games live but I was unable to reach out to the people in charge to get confirmation. But, I have a site that promises links to every game in a high quality video, for free. And it's firstrow.net; just click on the game you want to watch and choose the link that you prefer as it has many image qualities for you to choose from. (There are lots of popup ads to wade through first.) You can also watch league games and friendlies on the above links, which will be tops for a soccer addict like me.
And during the World Cup, you won’t be that one who asks the wrong question when the tournament is going on because you will actually know the places to watch for and their names. Keep in touch here with me for the after-match report and photos, as I am blessed to be headed to South Africa during this memorable month.
“To the resettlement agencies and refugee volunteers in Boise, send new Americans my way, should any have passion for soccer and socializing with fellows from their countries.”
David, Mahamudi and I managed to put this group together last year and executed a number of friendly games against other African teams around the country. One game in Seattle, Washington with the Somali Bantu team and a return leg in Boise, which we won 4-1 on aggregate, another one with a Sudanese team from Salt Lake City Utah which ended 4-4 and few local friendlies with teams around Boise.
Due to financial problems, we failed to join any of the two local leagues last year and it looked like we hit a dead end. But my hopes in the group of kids and mature plays that traveled to Seattle with me last summer never faded even a bit, and that inspired me to join David and Mahamudi again and ensure this team join the conquest in Boise. The charisma this time was high within the group and with the team's effort we managed to raise just enough money to get 19 players join the Boise Soccer League in March.
Boise Wonders so far has managed to compete for first prize in the league and it’s being regarded as one of the best teams in the league with 1 loss, 2 draws and 4 wins. After leading the first two games as coach and player, I finally got a break when a Papa Gode arrived from Congo and took the coaching task from me.
Last week, 10 members of the team, players and supporters have privileged the team with their helping hand to sponsor us with just enough money to keep players and team in the league for the next season and I am so overwhelmed with their commitment. Among them too came the words of wisdom to keep the kids on the right foot. This has just open doors for others that maybe willing to help or join this board of sponsors to join in.
To IRC, ANA, World Relief and others who work with refugees and new Americans—should there be people that take passion in soccer arriving in Boise and need a place to socialize with others, please send them my way. The team is an International team with players from all over the globe, not only Africa. I hope to welcome these new Americans on the team and with the sponsors joining in, they shouldn’t have to pay a thing to play.
Boise Wonders still have two games left this season and the three day tournament coming in June—this should be an exciting journey for us and the Boise soccer community.
Many people talk and others just hold on to their hatred of the Portuguese Inter Milan coach. Whatever your opinion, Jose Mourinho has proven to be the best coach alive. His genius, his plan, method and idea of football has proven to be the best winning football formation in the world today.
Barcelona, for the past three years, has proven to be the best team in the world, With ability to easily push the likes of Man United (2-0 in the last final), Chelsea, Arsenal, Milan, Real Madrid—all the top flight teams in Europe off their path. But when it come to “the special one,” he simply knows what to do win games. It’s not the kind of players he has; it’s his knowledge of what football should be: Winning, not entertaining.
He proved his critics wrong today, after winning with the same man-on-man defending system he applied last week in San Siro to score three goals on counter attack. Many believed Barcelona would react with unbelievable attacking and goals margin today to reverse the outspoken Mourinho’s 3-1 aggregate lead but, the unbelievable wasn’t about Barca but the Milanese defending system which left Barca with 85% of ball possession, three real chances created and one goal on the score board. This was not enough to see Pep Guardiola, a coach made famous more by the skills of his players than his knowledge, move to the final.
Mourinho has accomplished what he was hired by Milan to accomplish and he is at the peak of the world now. He achieved that in ideal conditions too, playing with 10 men for 70 min, being trailed by an off side goal and playing the best attacking team on the planet. The Milanese wins with 3-2 on aggregate and will face Bayern Munich on May 22 at the home of Real Madrid after the Germans managed a 4-0 on aggregate win over Lion from France.
Jose Mourinho—“the special one”—has earned a badge for saying whatever he wishes and getting away with it today. Those who hate ”the special one,” give him credit for his genius, for he has proven once again that no coach is better than him. Let us see if he will finish the job at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium on May 22.