Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Show-boating and football cynicism

Awana Diab is probably a name you haven’t come across in footballing circles before, probably because he’s a United Arab Emirates international, but following this cheeky penalty, hopefully it will become a more recognised name…

Brilliant! A wonderful piece of bonkers show-boating. Totally unnecessary (as is the case with most show-boating), but it does show up the Lebanese keeper for being a gormless twonk from the Robert Green School of clown-handed mishaps, which always makes for a delightful chuckle. However, rather than bask in the silliness of it all, Diab was booked after taking the penalty (presumably for bringing the game into disrepute), his manager substituted him right after and now the UAE FA are thinking about throwing the book at him, owing to the penalty being seen as slightly disrespectful.

Now is it just me, or is that a slight over-reaction? Sure, at 5-2 up it does have all the hallmarks of rubbing it in, but then the jubilant celebrations of someone tapping in from two-yards also smack of rubbing it in. In a sport geared to having winners and losers at any cost one can never get away from the art of taunting your opponent’s by making them look foolish. It’s something that cannot (and should not) be eradicated from the game. Firstly, it’s fun. Secondly, as players you walk off the pitch at the end of the match and shake hands with your opponents all in the knowledge that taking the piss is part of football’s long enduring history. If you boo about it like a big sissy, then fuck off and take up another sport. Like hockey…

It’s a shame as the actions of the UAE FA may curtail the character of a player that seems to have, well, a bit of character. The Maradonas, Valderammas, Higuitas, Mourinhos, Gascoignes, of the game are what frequently make it so entertaining. Alas, there seem to be a lack of such personalities in football at the moment, replaced by far too many stilted automatons programmed to talk shit of the highest order (see John Terry) or to dive at every given opportunity. At least Diab has a little individual flair about him – let’s not persecute him for that!

Did anyone complain about Johann Cruyff’s penalty for Ajax way back when?

Did they bollocks. Because it’s genius! Diab’s goal may not be quite the same level of genius, but have things really changed so much that Cruyff’s penalty should now be considered disrespectful? Because I see no relative difference between either and, importantly, neither break any of the laws regarding the taking of a penalty. These dreadful sensibilities of the footballing authorities, directed by a bunch of money-making shit merchants at FIFA that have more self interest in personal gain that the interests of football, are slowly strangling the game into submission. No personality, no flair, no style. No wonder the 2010 World Cup was a shit awful competition to watch.

Anyway, if the keeper had saved the penalty, rather than doing his best take on a startled hedgehog between headlights, all the above would be moot. The useless waster…

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