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Freaky football fever

Enough of the controversies, football is still the winner. With so much going on ranging from draws, hand-balls to clasicos, ratings for matches have been off the chart. Match-fixing scandals have made things much more juicer. Instead of stopping here and declaring Football the greatest entertainment on Earth lets move on to discuss some of the more pressing matters.

So Henry's blatant double hand-ball led to the Irish being knocked out. Now, you won't get to see the exciting Irish team marching their way to the finals. Big deal. Referees make decision. Remember last year's Champion's League Semi-Final clash between Chelsea and Barcelona? 4 Penalties forgotten and two players banned, yet Chelsea didn't ask for a triple threat final match. 33 teams? Forget about it Robbie Keane. We all want to see France over them anyway. More ticket sales, right? As for punishing Henry, FIFA for shame! Theirry Henry is a role model player, highly respected everywhere. If Maradona got away with something so blatant and is now the national team coach, why make a scapegoat out of someone as great as Henry? FIFA, don't push your inadequacies onto other people. More refs and replays. That's the real solution.

And what to make of this year's Ballon D'or list? Ok, yeah Messi wins and we all know that, but what about the list itself? Surely, they entrusted the duty of making the list to the great Pele. (Remember, Saviola in 100 Greatest Footballers?) Lio stands with 473 points while Xavi comes at 3rd with 170 point. Doesn't Xavi feed Messi? Doesn't Xavi feed Torres? Doesn't Messi fail to inspire Argentina? What went wrong here? Surely Xavi could've come second, instead of Cristiano Ronaldo. And what of Edin Dzeko? He ranks a cool 13, garnering 12 points while Grafite scored even more than him and isn't even on the list. So, now the award also takes age into consideration? Just because Grafite is older and his stock won't be boosted, they cheer for Dzeko? And then finally, what did Iker Casillas do last season that Victor Valdes didn't? So, why over look Valdes everytime even though he won everything there was to win? And Ryan Giggs? Best not go into details about that. Yes, there is plenty of room for improvement in the methods applied. Let's hope for fairer results next time around. The only fair results were Messi's victory and Benzema getting shortlisted for the top 30 but failing to get a single vote. (haha)

And now for the group draws for the World Cup. The results are in and surprisingly pretty darn fair. Those who expected France to be in for it, will be disappointed. If Domenech is sacked then surely they won't have a problem breezing through Uruguay, Mexico or South Africa. Heck even with such a coach at helm, France really shouldn't have a problem. Argentina will also get through provided they beat Greece and Korea but it will be a hard mountain to climb for Portugal. Brazil, Korea DPR and Cote D'Ivore stand in front of them and still without a proven striker and a probably under-performing Cr9, prospects look dim. Italy, Germany and Spain can be expected to breeze through, but England need to overcome USA, Algeria and Slovenia, who are all capable of beating opponents even if they themselves aren't exactly full of stars. The seeding is such that Brazil might actually meet Spain early on and one can be sure that at least 2 big names will be eliminated. Group G, the group of Death, is one to look out for.

Of course, the world of football looks more interesting than ever. With the exception of Serie A of course, where Cassano and Mourinho are the only things worth watching. But apart from that, Football should have a great year ahead and hopefully the end of the year will bring to us a new world Champion (Ger-man-y) and the news of Sepp Blatter resigning. We live to dream.

N.B- Respect to Bangladesh for teaching Bhutan a lesson!

By Osama Rahman

The play-house of absurdities

Karwan Bazar. Scorching mid-noon. Traffic mayhem.
And of course, the under-pass is as filthy as always.

He emerged from the darkness of the abyss, the stench of biri and urine still lingering on his senses. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with this scenario. Karwan Bazar cannot be Karwan Bazar without the smell and the noise. And an under-pass in this country wouldn't necessarily stay 'under' if it were anything remarkable.

His cell-phone rang.
The side-walk buzzed with people like him walking by in a hurry. He yawned as his wife's ramblings kept on drumming into his ear through the cursed cell-phone.

Just another regular day. Busy. Tedious. Absolutely nothing wrong with the scenario.

It was then that he first noticed the man walking towards him from the opposite direction. A morose-looking man with a bored expression on his face. One of those typical commoner faces you see everyday and never feel like taking a second glance at. Dhaka city is home to over a million people, human beings lose their charm very quickly in here.

His wife continued to whine over the phone. This woman is really something, he wondered, eyeing the man now getting closer. The man had a vacant look in his eyes. But so do most of the city people these days. Nothing wrong with it.

They were now about to pass each other on the sidewalk, when the man suddenly did something strange. His hand shot toward him in a quick flash like a cobra's strike, as he made a crafty snatch at his cell-phone. That startled him, but nevertheless his long-practiced urban reflexes held fast. The cell-phone was not lost, much to the surprise of both of them.

Urban time never stands still. Horns blared, vendors continued to wait for the next signal, the traffic police swore loudly at someone and people still walked their busy ways everywhere around them. Only they stood, like idiots stupefied in a parallel universe, staring wordlessly at each other- the man mostly at his cell-phone and he at his attacker's still surprisingly blank face. Something told him that there was something wrong with the scenario. The man should run away in fear of getting caught. He should scream in outrage and chase after him. People should stop their monotonous walks and gather around. Some sort of excitement should take place before it all goes back to the regular boredom again. Yet nothing happened, because they kept standing still.

The man shrugged and muttered something like “Oh well”, as he turned and began to walk away, still not a trace of emotion on his face. Watching his attacker's retreating back, he suddenly had the urge to stop him and ask what his own face looked like. But something told him he already knew what the answer would be.

“Oh well,” he shrugged too and began walking in the opposite direction, mentally smothering the small voice that kept objecting inside his head. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this scenario if we decide there is nothing wrong with it.

Indifference is supposed to be blissfully human these days.

By Raisa Mahmuda Rafique



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