Friday, October 15, 2010
ESPNsoccernet: October 16, 11:08 AM UK
Holographic matches and Oasis' United revenge
Off The Ball never rests in its mission to scratch around the underbelly of professional football to find the most bizarre, humorous and inexplicable stories.
This week, Liam Gallagher is accused of stealing Eric Cantona's car door, Japan plan to beam live holographic matches around the world, a voodoo goat is blamed for Egypt's shock defeat and a fan gets a full-chest tattoo of Andres Escobar's shirt.
Fan gets full-chest tattoo of Escobar shirt
Although there are probably more fitting ways to pay tribute to Colombia international Andres Escobar, who was shot dead shortly after the 1994 World Cup, Felipe Alvarez's decision to have his idol's shirt and number permanently tattooed on his torso is certainly up there with the best.
Escobar was gunned down by a man connected with Colombian gambling syndicates after he scored an own goal against the USA at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, which reportedly caused huge losses to several powerful drug lords, and every year tributes are paid to the defender by his club Atletico Nacional.
But El Verde y Blanco fanatic Alvarez, who was just nine years old when Escobar was murdered, took things a step further this week when he had club's green striped shirt, complete with Escobar's No. 2, painfully tattooed on his chest , back and arms.
The 25-year-old then unveiled his tribute on the pitch at Nacional's Estadio Atanasio Girardot Medellin under a parasol to protect his tender torso from the Colombian sun. Alvarez's effort really puts that luckless Newcastle supporter who had an elaborate Andy Cole design put on his leg two days before he was sold in the shade.
Japan plan holographic matches for WC 2022
If the rumblings surrounding Japan's bid to host the 2022 World Cup are to believed, the technology mad nation are proposing to shoot all of the games in 3D and then beam them holographically onto 400 pitches around the world.
Off The Ball has no idea if that mind-bogglingly stupendous feat will even be possible in just over a decade but any country that plans to make a real fist of delivering on that promise gets our vote.
According to multi-media news website CNet each game of the World Cup will be filmed by 200 high-definition 3D cameras positioned around the stadium and sound would be recorded by microphones under the pitch. This will all be powered by electricity generated by the fans' kinetic energy and solar panels on stadium roofs.
Apart from the small issue of Japan actually winning the right to host the event, and the development of Star Wars style holograms, the only other stumbling block is FIFA's continued reluctance to embrace technology. But surely even they can't stand in the way of this vision of the future.
Oasis star vandalised United players' cars
Manchester City loving Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher once stole the car door of Manchester United legend Eric Cantona, according to the band's former drummer Tony McCarroll.
Apparently, whilst working as a valet with McCarroll, a young Gallagher removed Cantona's door and scrubbed his United team-mate Paul Ince's wheels with wire wool.
McCarroll makes the claims in his as yet unreleased book, according to TalkSport, but it does leave to big questions unanswered. Firstly, what kind of establishment that caters for lavish spending footballers would employ a nutter like Liam? And secondly, what did Cantona do when his car was returned minus a door?
The fact that McCarroll was acrimoniously asked to leave Oasis in 1995, took the band to court in 1999 and entitled his book 'Oasis: The Truth, the Noel Truth, is Nothing Like the Truth', might give a clue to the motivation behind the claims.
Voodoo goat blamed for Egypt's shock defeat
Reigning African champions Egypt looked beyond their own lack lacklustre start to their Nations Cup campaign and blamed mysterious magical forces for a surprise 1-0 defeat to lowly Niger on Sunday.
A goal from Niger's Amadou Kader after 34 minutes was enough to secure the shock of the qualifying round for the African minnows, ranked 154th in the world, and stun ninth-ranked Egypt in Niamey.
Despite a second consecutive poor result for Hassan Shehata's men, supporters are adamant foul play was involved and that a black goat which was paraded around the pitch by a local witchdoctor before the game kicked off was part of a black magic ritual.
The rumblings became so loud that Confederation of African Football technical director Mostafa Abdul-Menem eventually commented on the situation. "Of course it's the match commissioner's responsibility to make sure that only the players are on the pitch, but it's no big deal after all," he told Egyptian radio. "I really don't see the reason why we are talking about some goat. Did the goat cause Egypt to lose?"
Lights go out on Drogba's place in history
Didier Drogba might be in top form this season but it seems he is no match for a solar powered lamp. The Chelsea No. 11's famous shirt was one of five contenders for a place alongside famous artefacts such as the Rosetta Stone and the Seated Buddha from Gandhara at the British Museum but lost out.
The striker's jersey was beaten to the final place in BBC Radio 4's A History of the World in 100 Objects - a list that includes both ancient and more modern items - but did succeed in creating a storm of controversy by its inclusion in the voting for the 100th place, alongside the lamp, a mobile phone from Africa, an Antarctic suit, and a pestle and mortar.
Senior content commissioner David Prudames defended the choice by saying: "This isn't just any football shirt. It bears the name of Didier Drogba, an African who grew up in France and whose skills have led to global fame. Through television, radio, magazines, billboard posters, the Internet, Drogba's face and tremendously gifted feet are known the world over.
"And Didier plays for Chelsea, a team based in London and owned by a Russian. The shirt was made by a German-owned company, in China, and bought in London. The shirt is a mass-produced symbol of our globalised world. It's got 2010 in every millimetre of its man-made fibre."
Video of the week
Following on from Mattie Burrows' wonder strike in the Northern Ireland Premiership last week we have another contender for goal of the season and another from less glamorous surroundings.
This great goal, straight from the kick-off, by Aberdeen youngster Chris Maguire comes from Scotland Under-21's Euro 2011 playoff second leg match against Iceland. To see Chris Maguire's great goal click here .
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