Stories about football

Bruno Fernandes committed murder, why is he being allowed to play football?

South America thrives on football; it is played on every street and corner, and is watched religiously by the general populace. Similar to European footballers, Brazilian players also have a certain celebrity status and everything they say or do gets publicly scrutinised. From every step they take to every appearance they make, all aspects of their lives are documented by the media. Having said that, when a professional footballer commits a crime, the blame does not only fall on his shoulders but also the shoulders of his agent, the club he plays for, his publicist and everyone who has ...

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Series 7: Dada Baba and me Part 3 ‘The downward spiral’

Dada Baba’s funeral was carried out with immense honour and respect. I still do not remember clearly who did all the arrangements, where the money came from, who did what and why. All I was aware of was the fact that, for the first time in my life, I was alone. The only person whose life and presence I took for granted, the person of immense grit and strength, my father, my best friend, my mentor, and practically speaking ‘my entire life’ had left me alone. In between a large gathering of black suits, white shalwar kameez, flowing tears, distant whispers, heavy hearts, and ...

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Is it a mistake to increase the number of teams from 32 to 48 in the 2026 FIFA World Cup?

Fourty-eight teams. Now that would be a long list of participating countries to remember. I, for one, wouldn’t make it past 15, 20 tops. But fourty-eight!? You have got to be kidding me. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) decided to expand the leading global tournament to a whopping 48 countries from the current perfectly reasonable number of 32 teams, starting from the 2026 FIFA World Cup. The sport’s world governing body, in a landmark unanimous vote, chose to increase the countries at a meeting held in Zurich on Tuesday. Current FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, has been the driving ...

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Remembering the ones we lost too soon

It seems like the year 2016 just started a while back, but here we are, just a few days shy from welcoming 2017. A lot happened last year which took us by surprise and shocked us. But even amidst such unpredictability, we were not prepared to see some of the deaths that came our way. Some were lost to old age, some to disease and some to murder. But regardless, they were all taken too soon. Here are some of those names, in no particular order. Peter Vaughan Photo: IMDb Even though he had a career spanning 75 years, ...

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Sexual abuse: How safe is it to let your kid play football in England?

Imagine taking your little one to his usual Sunday cricket practice. You reach the academy and drag an unenthusiastic child out of the car while putting his reluctance down as usual weekend morning blues. The overtly chummy coach, whom you have known for quite a while now, is there to receive your son. You hand over your kid to him, wave at them and leave the ground content with the fact that your lad is in safe hands. But is he really safe? Hundreds of parents all across England must have thought the same when they left their kids in a ...

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Will Cristiano Ronaldo win the Ballon d’Or 2016? I think so!

A 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or was announced this week by ‘France Football’, one of Europe’s most reputable sports magazines, after the world football governing body, FIFA, ended its association with the Ballon d’Or earlier this year. The footballing magazine spent an entire day unveiling the 30-man shortlist for this year’s prize, ahead of the gala awards ceremony in January, with the venue for the occasion yet to be decided. Since 1956, the prestigious award has annually been given out by the French publication and it was awarded to the best European player of the previous footballing season ...

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Gordon Strachan – Dead man(ager) walking

And it all started so well! Well that’s the life of a football manager. Last Tuesday’s result in Trnava means the Scots despite thumping Malta 5-1 in their first FIFA world cup qualifier have taken just four points from their first three matches and within this short span, boss Gordon Strachan is under increasing pressure to retain his position as chief of Scotland football team. There is a prevalent understanding that the 59-year-old will be forced out of the job if his players do not return from the November 11 encounter against England with a victory. But Strachan is not one to ...

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Is it time for Wayne Rooney to retire?

I have no qualms in admitting that there have only been two players ever that I have feared facing as an opponent going into a Liverpool match. One of them was the Welsh wizard, Gareth Bale from his Tottenham Hotspur days and the other is a certain Wayne Mark Rooney. Wayne Mark Rooney (left) and Gareth Bale (right) The golden boy of English football, he was a footballing force of nature during his peak. Rooney wasn’t just all pace or power like an archetypal English player, he also had the technique and flair of a Brazilian footballer ...

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Hala Madrid? Not anymore!

The stage was set, popcorn ready and the browser switched to the right streaming website. This after all was supposed to be a momentous night, a date when I would watch history being re-written, and a day when arguably the greatest football club on planet earth would add another feather to the cap. But sixth placed Villareal clearly failed to read the script. The Yellow Submarine came to the Bernabeu with ‘Mission: Damage Limitation’ against the leaders but left the capital with Real Madrid’s dreams sunk. Zinedine Zidane’s men had equalled the previous best of 16 – a feat achieved by Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona ...

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What’s going wrong with José Mourinho’s United?

Manchester United – a team consisting of extra-ordinary individuals but performing below the ordinary level of expectations. After the disastrous derby day defeat, no one thought things with someone like José Mourinho at the helm could go this wrong. After the disastrous derby day defeat, no one thought things with someone like José Mourinho at the helm could go this wrong. Photo: AFP But bloody hell, (Fergie-style) we have been wronged. Mourinho got it horribly wrong in the first half of Manchester Derby. He really underestimated City, and above all, Pep Guardiola’s strength. Although United’s performance in the ...

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