Mak­ers say it’s al­ti­tude and Bougherra blames sur­face

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FOOTBALL -

AL­GE­RIA cen­tre-back Mad­jid Bougherra ad­mits play­ers are strug­gling to get to grips with play­ing with the World Cup Jab­u­lani ball at al­ti­tude.

Al­ge­ria’s 1-0 de­feat to Slove­nia last Sun­day was mem­o­rable only for Robert Koren’s shot which goal­keeper Farouzi Chaouchi al­lowed to bounce past him.

There were many times, the first half in par­tic­u­lar, where play­ers were over-hit­ting the sim­plest of passes.

Bougherra said that and the goal were due more to the at­mo­spheric con­di­tions – Polok­wane is 4,000 feet above sea level – and the much-crit­i­cised adi­das Jab­u­lani ball than the play­ers.

“It was the foot­ball,” said the Rangers cen­tre-back. “With this ball and that new pitch (the sur­face at the Peter Mok­aba Sta­dium is part­grass part-ar­ti­fi­cial turf) the keeper will tell you that the ball goes quickly. “That goal was hor­ri­ble for me.” Of the mis-placed passes, the 27year-old added: “Nor­mally when I am in Glas­gow all these balls are good but here it goes quickly.

“You think the ball is just right but with the ball and the pitch it gets away.”

adi­das have de­fended their World Cup ball, in­sist­ing al­ti­tude is play­ing a sig­nif­i­cant part in the way it moves through the air.

Eng­land goal­keeper Robert Green’s howler in al­low­ing Clint Dempsey’s strike to squirm through his grip in Satur­day’s 1-1 draw with the USA was also blamed on the ball.

How­ever, adi­das spokesman Thomas von Schaik said the Jab­u­lani, which has been ex­ten­sively tested at Lough­bor­ough Uni­ver­sity, this year’s African Na­tions Cup, in sev­eral top leagues, in­clud­ing Ger- many’s Bun­desliga, as well as be­ing tri­alled by Real Madrid, Bay­ern Mu­nich and Chelsea, was not to blame.

“I wouldn’t say I am sur­prised by the neg­a­tive re­ac­tion; it is cus­tom­ary when there is a new ball that play­ers need to get used to it,” Schaik­van, head of global pub­lic re­la­tions at adi­das, said.

“What is strange is that peo­ple are say­ing the ball is lighter and that is just not true – there are strin­gent Fifa tech­ni­cal spec­i­fi­ca­tions and our stan­dards are sig­nif­i­cantly tighter than that.

“We don’t con­cen­trate on mak­ing a faster ball, we want to cre­ate a more sta­ble ball.

“But play­ing at al­ti­tude is not the same as play­ing at sea level, that is just plain sci­ence. The ba­sic sci­ence of a spher­i­cal ob­ject fly­ing through the air is go­ing to re­sult in ‘flut­ter­ing’ – this is the way the ball moves through the air.

“There are play­ers who play in leagues with other balls, who have not played in the African Na­tions Cup and play­ers with other fed­er­a­tions who have not prac­tised with this ball and those are the play­ers who take the most amount of time to get used to it.” – The Tele­graph

HIGH JINKS: Farouzi Chaouchi blames the high al­ti­tude of Polok­wane for his mis­take against Slove­nia.

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