Stories about football

PTV learns on the job with Euro 2012

After realising the money in broadcasting sport events last year and in spite of still not knowing enough about the sport, the state-owned channel PTV has coveted the exclusive rights to air the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly known as the Euro 2012. Everything seemed to be running normally during the opening ceremony of the Euro 2012; not very sharp picture quality, but nothing one couldn’t live without. The opening match, however, was an entirely different story as it brought with it a shock that was not part of the actual match. Confused? There was no scorecard displayed on the screen ...

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Yes, I don’t watch TV

The last time I took a five week break from writing my exams, Osama Bin Laden was found and killed in Abbottabad. The whole world oohed and aahed. Did anything that exciting happen this time around? Nope. Same old, same old. The chief justice’s son accepts bribes and we all get out our popcorn buckets for another showdown. Becky Anderson wins the prize for the most loathed CNN anchor in Pakistani CNN viewership history. And I won a bet with my Dadi (grandmother), who was convinced that Mubashir Lucman was the fountain of all TV holy wisdom until he finally, ...

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Sabermetrics: The art of numbers in sports

So, it was when Scott Hatteberg hammered a home run for the Oakland Athletics (Oakland A’s) on September 5, 2002 that baseball had a new ideology to celebrate. The Oakland A’s had made the 20th consecutive groundbreaking win, all due to their manager, Billy Beane’s, fascinating, albeit controversial, stratagem to incorporate ‘sabermetrics’ into the baseball universe. First put forward by Bill James, sabermetrics relies on the tactical analysis of baseball games and players by utilising objective and empirical data. In layman’s terms, it is the philosophy of using numbers and statistics to make decisions and value judgments. This success galvanised and reshaped ...

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The misery of being a Pakistani sports reporter

Often I think about what I would write in my suicide note. I can’t really write that I killed myself out of boredom or the fact that being a sports journalist in Pakistan is equal to being dead. But you can’t kill something that is already dead, so I’d say that being a sports journalist is like being undead. I realised I’m undead last week right in the middle of the dancing and celebrating with my fellow Chelsea supporters, when I felt the need to kill myself, understanding that covering Pakistani football for two years has never given me a ...

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The Lyari we all (don’t) know

If you see people with curly hair, pan gutka in their mouth, speaking their own Balochi version of Urdu, then you are definitely among Lyariites. Being someone unfamiliar with this Pandora island of Karachi, one should be worried because it is here that you are among the most dangerous creatures to be found. In a few minutes you may be killed or drugged, or if lucky, kidnapped. Your head will be ripped off and given to the children to play football. Your hands and legs will be severed and sent to your parents and so on. Unfortunately this is the misperception ...

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Finally, Chelsea!

It took nine long years, eight different managers (and more than £60 million in compensation for the termination of their respective contracts), innumerable player signings worth millions and several occasions of heartbreak, but at long last, Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea have finally gotten their hands on the European Cup. A penalty shoot-out victory over Bayern Munich ensured the illustrious trophy went to Stamford Bridge (or indeed any London club) for the very first time. The talismanic touch of interim coach Roberto Di Matteo worked again as his team defied the odds to win ...

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Pep Guardiola: Respect to a living legend

Barcelona talisman and manager Pep Guardiola recently announced that he would not be continuing in his managerial role at Barcelona beyond the end of this season. I cannot even begin to describe the profound effect he had on Barcelona and the world of football itself. Josep Guardiola i Sala or ‘Pep’ as they call him, was born in Santpedor; a relatively small town in central Catalonia, Spain. Pep’s rise in football was quite a fairy-tale. He started out working as a ball-boy for FC Barcelona – little did anyone know that this ordinary ball-boy would one day end up as manager of ...

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How Milan defended Barca’s attack

Stop Lionel Messi and you’ll stop Barcelona. Or at least that’s what many people think is the ultimate solution to stop the unstoppable machine that is FC Barcelona. It was a rare occasion in which the little genius was frustrated for 90 minutes as AC Milan held out for a goalless draw at home to the reigning European Champions in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie. It was Milan who had the best chance of the game from open play, while it was Barcelona that had the most contentious decision of the game ruled against them. ...

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English Premier League: Handshakes and hypocrisy

If the English Premier League can be defined by one contest, it is the one between the two most illustrious and successful clubs, Manchester United and Liverpool FC. That is one fixture (in fact two, if you count home and away fixtures) every season that never fails to entertain you for reasons varying from sheer brilliance to absolute controversial. After the racism controversy surrounding Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez where Suarez was found guilty not based on any “evidence” but on a “balance of probabilities” (which I believe has to be the flimsiest way of deciding on one’s guilt especially in a case as ...

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Battles at the Premier League

This mid-week in Premier League saw some interesting battles being fought at the top half of the table as well as between the relegation bound teams. It was also one of the rare occasions when the match day’s late kick-off (7:45 pm) nearly collided with the Transfer Day deadline that ended at 11:00 pm. All this made for an exciting day.  Let’s start from football itself from the top half. Manchester City, fuelled by the Arab Oil-gazillions, started the week right at the top of the table and determined to tighten it grasp on the No.1 spot after being dumped out of the ...

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