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World Cup news

Jabulani makes for "poorer World Cup"

June 25, 2010
By Dominic Raynor

Former Liverpool player Craig Johnston, designer of the revolutionary Predator football boot, believes the "erratic, wild and unpredictable" nature of the Jabulani ball is "contributing to a much poorer World Cup".

The Jabulani has caused controversy
GettyImagesThe Jabulani has caused controversy

• Designer defends World Cup ball

The tournament ball has been slammed by both players and managers in South Africa, with England boss Fabio Capello claiming it is the worst he has ever seen, and Johnston, whose Predator boot was worn by stars such as David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane, says the technology has gone too far.

The Jabulani is made up of eight panels rather than the normal 24 or 32, which means there is far less drag on it which Johnston believes makes it harder to control.

"It has a mind of its own," Johnston told Soccernet. "It is too lively and too bouncy and it's contributing to a poorer World Cup in terms of the quality of football.

"What you will see is a different approach to the ball by the players, which is changing the dynamics of football. Which is not a call scientists should be making.

"If you look at the statistics more than 80% of passes to the far post have been over hit. And that's because the ball has not been behaving in a way the players are used to.

"If you watch the ball move in the air you can see it is erratic, it's wild, it's unpredictable. Players are not only having trouble passing it and shooting with it, players are having a big problem controlling it."

Johnston, who was one of the first Australians to make a major impact in the game, expects the Jabulani to lead to some costly, high-profile errors in the knockout stages of the competition and thinks the ball contributed to the Socceroos' demise.

"I think it is responsible for strange referee calls. Like the Harry Kewell penalty. Where clearly he thought it was going to land on his chest, but it moved at the last second."