Stories about football

Does Pakistan even care about its FIFA ranking?

Fédération Internationale de Football Association’s (FIFA) method to calculate rankings has had its fair share of praise and criticism over the years, with many calling it inconsistent, while others enjoy the benefits with smaller teams making great leaps with famous wins. However, for minnows like Pakistan, the rankings are truly reflective of the team’s state of affairs. I usually don’t pay much attention to rankings but, nonetheless, it plays a key part when one is in a constant battle to promote the game and raise awareness amongst masses. And it’s no surprise that the eventual mention of Pakistan’s ranking often brings ridicule and disappointment.   [caption ...

Read Full Post

5 reasons Manuel Neuer deserves the Ballon d’Or

Finally, after much anticipation, the list is out. And it’s out with a bang. Three players have been shortlisted for the prestigious award and it is no surprise that this year’s trio of the planet’s best players yet again includes the giants of the football world, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. What is enthralling about this year’s award, however, is that this time it is not Xavi or Andrés Iniesta or Franck Ribery who will compete with Ronaldo and Messi – this time, it is a goalkeeper. This time it is the ‘SuperManu’, the ‘sweeper-keeper’, the legendary German and Bayern Munich goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer, who ...

Read Full Post

Frank Lampard and Chelsea’s awkward yet beautiful reunion

Every once in a while in sport, something awe-inspiring happens – something that envisages the true spirit of sporting ethos. The beautiful game that is football is filled with such episodes of shear emotional brilliance that help give the sport a human face, which not only can we relate to but also idealise. It was the 78th minute in the Etihad stadium, the hosts not only trailed their rivals by a goal in a match that could have a lot of bearing in the title race, but also were a man short. It was in that moment that Manuel Pellegrini ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan sports: Abundance of talent but lack of recognition

It was amazing how Pakistan beat India 2-1 in their Asian games fixture yesterday. If you see the last couple of months in light of the Indo-Pak rivalry, you would be proud to see how well Pakistan has done against India in pretty much all sports. Just last month, Pakistan beat India 2-0 in the final match of a friendly series. Though Pakistan lost the first match, we won the series on goal average. Last week, our domestic side, Lahore Lions, took on the two time CLT20 champions Mumbai Indians and surprisingly ended up beating them. And it’s not just these Indo-Pak clashes where we have done really ...

Read Full Post

Catalonian independence equals Spanish football without Barcelona

Despite Scotland’s ‘No’ vote on independence, the Catalans are adamant to break away from Spain as they push ahead defiantly for their own ballot on self-rule. Just hours after the Scottish referendum results were announced, Catalonian parliament passed a law authorising them to hold a non-binding consultation on independence from Spain. However, Spain has refuted that it is unconstitutional for Catalonia to break away from them. Politics and sports are often intertwined; so the question is, what if it does break away? Furthermore, under the assumption that Catalonia breaks away from Spain, what impact will it have on the Spanish football, since ...

Read Full Post

I am a female sports-journalist and I love it

Two years ago… Sub-editor at the Sports Desk; a quick stop over or even a detour because, truth be told, there was no future. To write or edit about ‘dribble dribble pass’ and a ‘50th-minute strike’ was just not journalism for me, at least as a woman. Or so I thought of the job at that point.  Six months down the line and then some more… Struggle. So much struggle. I felt like the desk was mocking me and I felt like I was mocking myself by trying to figure out how the world of sports functioned. From the day I had ...

Read Full Post

Chelsea – The clear winners

Amidst the last-minute deadline day transfer scramble that every football fan relishes, one club that kicked-back and relaxed was the Chelsea FC. José Mourinho and crew did a spectacular job and they stood as the best example of how to do business in football. They started out from the word ‘go’ with a clear plan in mind, never pouncing on any prospect meaninglessly yet always taking full advantage of whenever an opportunity arose. The dead weight and surplus of the squad was swiftly gotten rid of and the loan game was played shrewdly and to maximum effect. The club’s official website reports that the West ...

Read Full Post

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