Stories about football

The reluctant Louis van Gaal

For over two decades, Manchester United ruled over English football. We have seen them win titles with both extraordinary and, at times, the most ordinary of squads, all under Sir Alex Ferguson. But now, things at Old Trafford have changed rather dramatically. The stories of a late Manchester United comeback and the myth of ‘Fergie time’ are all well and truly preserved in the past. The question here is what was the secret behind Manchester United’s ultimate dominance for so long? It sure had nothing to do with the transfer market; the reason, in fact, is way too simple to guess. The Manchester ...

Read Full Post

Premier League rollercoaster: Who will lift the cup?

With the FA Community Shield behind us, it’s time to gear up for the new Premier League season. Those who followed the world’s most competitive football competition were left stunned at the pleasant unpredictability of the season. Week in, week out, the league table would morph completely. It went all the way down to a nail-biting end; and Manchester City took the title on the basis of a great attack and some major inconsistencies of their rival clubs. Looking at all the major contenders for the coveted top four Champions League spots this upcoming season, one can’t help but get a little giddy ...

Read Full Post

An Ángel in disguise for Manchester United

Much has been said about Manchester United’s transfer policy for the last two years, the majority of which is negative. Last season, United had to replace two individuals, who have been part of the fabric of the club, for a good part of a decade, regardless much was expected. What ensued was a virtual train wreck; without completing even one season, David Moyes was given the boot. The chief executive of the club, Ed Woodward, also had to shoulder a great deal of the blame due to his failed exploits in the transfer window. Fast forward one year: Manchester United is in the hands of the experienced Louis Van ...

Read Full Post

Liverpool may have lost Suarez but will they lose the Premier League title too?

We are only a day away from the kick-off of the most watched football league. Yes, I’m referring to none other than the Barclays Premier League, which returns to your screens for the 2014-2015 season. Unlike other football leagues, where the title race is mainly between two or three teams, this league has five to six teams competing for the title. This summer transfer window has seen some of the biggest signings made by English clubs for their upcoming season. Some have been filling in the gaps left by departed players while others have been busy building up some real ...

Read Full Post

#SavePalestine: Why can’t our sportsmen be political?

When Dwight Howard tweeted #SavePalestine, he drew, in equal amounts, plaudits and condemnation from social media. He soon deleted his tweet, called it accidental and issued a retraction. Soon enough, #Howardthecoward started trending on Twitter. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t! A prominent sportsperson had aired his views on a sensitive political subject, and by issuing a retraction, had later on failed to stand by it. Dwight Howard (R) Back in 2003, Andy Flower and Henry Olonga had worn black armbands during a World Cup, mourning the death of democracy in their native Zimbabwe. Not only were they not criticised, they were lauded for ...

Read Full Post

Yes, I don’t like watching football if Pakistan isn’t playing

The FIFA World Cup 2014 was a sporting spectacle watched by everyone. From youngsters to elderly people, everybody’s eyes were fixed on the television as some of the best players in the world fought for eternal glory. Seasonal fans came out to discuss the matches in detail, while some enthusiastic football critics even took to television to voice their opinions. I, too, watched the games and was amazed by the quality of football on display. But while everyone cheered Argentina, Netherlands or Germany on and cried tears when Brazil lost, I remained neutral. Why wouldn’t I be? My beloved Pakistan was not in the FIFA ...

Read Full Post

In Messi I believe!

It has been a long time coming. Since Euro 2008, the Germans have been hovering around the edges of supremacy. Their only crime being that Spain, forever the underachievers had been pegged by fate as its darling. What Jürgen Klinsman started at World Cup 2006 resulted in a finals defeat to the Spanish in Euro 2008, a semi-final defeat to the same opposition at South Africa 2010 and the Italians in the semi-finals of Euro 2012. This time, however, the Spanish have been vanquished by their own doing. The once-famed Brazilians have been annihilated in an absurd seven minute stretch of play that will linger on as a scar ...

Read Full Post

From Pakistan to ‘Survivistan’

You make a football for the world to kick (even though we don’t play football) and I cheer you on! You give a speech at the United Nations (UN) and I cry tears of pride and joy! You win a cricket match and I clap till my hands hurt! You get nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and my chest bloats with pride! You discovered the Higgs Boson and I am enthralled! Proud is too small a word! You take the first Oscar for your country and I scream out the news to the world! You produce the most divine mangoes in the whole wide world and ...

Read Full Post

Four ways Pakistani cricket is like Argentinian football

I was barely six-years-old when Diego Maradona’s individual brilliance almost singlehandedly won the World Cup for Argentina in Mexico. For a boy watching the event with his sports crazy family, the event was electric, with the iconic images of Maradona dancing through the opposition, and eventually lifting the trophy, forever imprinted in my brain. Equally iconic were the images of Maradona crying four years later, after his side was cruelly penalised by the referee in the final against West Germany. Even later, when Maradona shed tears after struggling with substance abuse, I shared his pain, and supported my hero, ignoring the fact that he ...

Read Full Post

What does religion have to do with football?

The World Cup 2014 is about to reach its final stages, with the quarterfinals matches starting from Friday, July 4. The knockout rounds saw major teams facing a tough challenge against underdog teams and five out of eight matches went into extra-time so that a winner could be decided. This highlights the intensity of these matches. The clash between the mighty Germans and the dark horses, Algeria, also went onto extra time. Andrea Schurrle scored in the opening minutes of the extra time, to give Germany an edge over the highly impressive Algerian side. Mesut Ozil doubled Germany’s lead in the 119th minutes and ...

Read Full Post