Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Indifference to Ongoing Women World Cup In Beijing…

Another appropriate word is nonchalant.
As though it is not happening.
I always overhear women saying “I hate football”, “It is a men’s game!” or “I can’t stand those bands of blokes singing ugly songs, drinking beer, shouting and fighting.”
Fair enough. Football (soccer, in the USA), can be rough and recently some dreadful skirmishes were recorded at London’s King’s Cross station where 150 violent fans from the Arsenal –Tottenham match (the previous weekend) left a 38 year old man hospitalised. Daniel King, sports columnist with Mail on Sunday wrote “sorry to mention it but violence is back” in football. Such stories of course will continue to put women who dislike Pele’s beautiful game, off it.
This is, nevertheless, for me, the exception rather than the rule.

I have been to many football matches in various parts of the world (including Latin America and Europe) where soccer attendance consisted of many happy chanting families and children. It can be a special outing where you can really express yourself verbally. It is also a national cultural event whereby identity is the motive.
On Wednesday (tomorrow) the ongoing women’s world cup in Beijing China enters it’s semi-finals. I have been watching some of the matches and they have been excellent, magical. The standard of playing has been amazing, especially if you observe top class players from Norway, Germany, USA, Brazil and England. The model of playing contrary to those who think this is girlie football ( and I was one of them too) is as good as any man’s game. You cannot deny that Brazil’s mesmerising players Marta and Formiga and England’s Kelly Smith and captain Faye White are great entertainers and fantastic dribblers. The only thing that I found appalling was goalkeeping. So many goals conceded proved it to be the weakest link. Think of the Eleven goals netted against the Argentinean side by Germany during the early matches. Or Ghana being trounced by Australia, New Zealand by Brazil. Many goals, some of them pathetic at the keeper’s kitchen.
But that can be rectified as years go on. Otherwise, I thought the level of the game ( and I was watching one match with a lady who likes football, who agreed too) is really blossoming and the technique of goal control, team work, short and long passes, finishing touches, the goals; absolutely thrilling. Superb.
But what beats me, and this is the intention of this blog entry, is this. Why aren’t women bothered by the World Cup contest? Many times I have been puzzled by the lukewarm response, the surprise when I mentioned it.
“Did you see Marta last night?”
Who is Marta?
They don’t know Brazil’s top goal scorer (female FIFA's world best player)who has been dubbed Pele In A Skirt, or England’s Kelly Smith, the female Zinedine Zidane.
“You heard how Germany trounced Argentina eleven goals?”
What, where, which, when?
“You don’t know there is a Women’s World Cup going on in China?”
Shrug. Sigh. Pout. I don’t like football.
And then there is the media. Female columnists are not even mentioning the games. They are not commenting on the wonderful expertise and skills and beauty of their fellow female sports-ladies; they are not reacting. And the mainstream media itself is merely giving very little tiny brief reports of the matches. I am shocked by the lack of pictures, the absence of headlines. BBC television shows highlights of some of these matches in the dead of the night, usually midnight. Which is understandable because of the time zone difference ….(It was the same with the African Winners Cup in 2006)…However, if someone likes something they can video tape and watch it the next day.
Beats me.
And Then.
Why call football (soccer) a man’s game? Why football in particular? Why are all other sports (not excluding violent boxing), athletics, tennis and so on equally shared? What is the problem here? Yes. Many governments and countries have not put much in female soccer but that shouldn’t be the excuse if there are female football geniuses and stars and the games are entertaining and as good as any other championship ones. Kelly Smith herself said in an interview that when she was younger she used to be discouraged from playing by both females and males. Perhaps that is part of the answer.
When we hear equal rights and emancipation what does it mean exactly?


dara said...

i was watching USA vs. England and Brasil vs. Australia...but i found it on tv by accident. before then, i had no idea the Women's World Cup had started. Amazing! last year, i heard about the Men's World Cup months before it began.

Anonymous said...

Lack of publicity, thats what it is...same old story

Anonymous said...

My congratulations for you blog and writing activities. I, from this part of the globe, am with you.

And I saw the game, I saw Marta. The
addition of talent, improvisation,
and flash of genious...
and overall, that most happy combination that people in the richer
part of the world will never understand: the combination of ´hunger with ´simple love for a ball since childhood´. The result is Marta, the unique devilish
football player we have ever seen.