Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Football Still in Stone Age

I think I need a word with Sepp Blatter. Why on earth would he go staging the World Cup at the very same time as my beloved Wimbledon? Isn't he aware that these are life changing decisions that I have to make between watching a world cup match and tennis a match. It is difficult for the brotha to choose. When it comes down to biting the bullet, however, I find myself pressing the button on the remote for the tennis. This is probably something that none tennis fans may ever fully understand. One of the reasons why I decide to watch tennis is that football somehow deliberately decides to stay in the Stone Age.

Being a fan of any sport is a tough job, there is so much emotional investment that goes in. It is very hard to make the relationship work. These are the original marriage vows, through thick and thin, through victory or loss, our relationship is unbreakable. People do not shed tears and have heart attacks for nothing. To this day I admit that one of the happiest days of my life was when Zambia lifted the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012. There are just not enough adjectives and superlatives to explain the joy that I felt. Then as a tennis fan after witnessing Rafael Nadal win Roger Federer  Wimbledon after  losing twice to the same man two years in role, in what many including I believe was the best tennis match ever played was just sublime. I am a football and tennis fan, but I am definitely a much bigger tennis fan. I mean being a football fan is hard and painful, at its current state I don't think I can invest any more than I am in this relationship. This is merely because football still refuses to incorporate technology.

Football Referee

Almost every other sport has progressed on well with technology football have only flirted with it this year by using goal line technology. Therefore, you have very painful losses as a result of whistle happy referees, unfair penalties awarded (anyone recall the Ivory Coast versus Greece game), cruel red cards, offside goals and the list is countless. The difference between a nation having the pride of reaching a World Cup quarter final hangs in the hands of fallible human being. In tennis when a player loses you know that they lost fair and square not because some umpire made one lousy call. This happens because tennis has the revolutionary technology called Hawk Eye. Therefore, a player has a choice to challenge calls to determine whether the ball was in or out. They are given a maximum of three challenges per set. Every victory or loss was on the player's racket and as a fan it is much easier to accept and less painful. Rugby, cricket, golf, hockey and tennis have review systems so what is so special about football.

Hawk Eye System

People say it will slow the game down. Oh really, how about when a player gets injured, substitutions, when the keeper is on a time wasting mission isn't that slowing down the game already. You do not permit reviews at every incidence, all that should be allowed is each coach is entitled to three reviews per game. So they will know that they need to use those reviews wisely. This is 2014, having a review system is the most fair way to go. There is a lot of money, pride, careers and our very fragile hearts at stake here. Therefore, it is time that football joins the programme and introduces the review system into the game.

While the football world is mulling over the shock departures of Spain and Italy, we in tennis are speechless over the exits of Serena and Nadal. When the football world speaks of the penalties, us in tennis are biting our nails over the tie-breaks. And of course, we hold our breathes for the women's and men's finals this weekend, as the gladiators battle it out on the grass of Wimbledon. The Hawk Eye system has not made the game any less interesting in fact it adds a new dimension to the thrill. It is time we drag the football world out of the Stone Age. Until football joins the party I will be having some strawberry and cream (tennis fans know what I mean) as I behold the gladiators who take centre stage on the grass of Wimbledon.

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