Makers say it’s altitude and Bougherra blames surface
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.