FIFA and the bizarre Golden Ball award
Posted: 15 July 2014 Time: 10:47
Congratulations are in order to Lionel Messi for being ‘given’ the Golden Ball award, I suppose. However, whatever criteria was employed in awarding the Argentine captain remains my concern.
Actually, the value of the award will drastically depreciate in the eyes of football fans should FIFA continue to give those who never earned it.
The so-called individual brilliance did not even inspire the team to winning the real thing, the World Cup trophy. It would have been understandable if they won it but no, FIFA decided to leave us with something to debate about.
More than half of the German squad were better than Messi, hence an important victory, not to mention those from other teams who performed very well in the tournament; the likes of Robben, James Rodriguez, etc.
You could say Messi received an early ‘lifetime achievement award’, definitely not a Golden Ball award – he did not deserve it at all. The poetic commentator, Peter Drury, even commented about the prize: “Messi getting the Golden Ball perhaps due to the performances he’s produced in his career rather than his performances during the last month.”
Let’s take two steps backwards, whether to support Messi or ambush FIFA. At the 2010 World Cup, this award was given to Diego Forlan, who scored five goals and had one assist.
In 2006, it was Zidane’s … the Frenchman only scoring three goals and had one assist as well. Forlan and Zidane’s teams lost in the semifinals and final, respectively.
Back to 2014, Messi scored four goals and assisted once – his team, which he captains, were runners up, just like France in 2006.
Messi never made his presence felt in the latter part of this World Cup the way Zidane did in Germany 2006; even leadership wise I believe the armband he wears is just for decoration. He is not leadership material at all.
This prize can be awarded to a defender, but FIFA feels that it has to be given to someone who score goals. They may as well mention that is award is only for goalscorers.
To avoid criticism, awards like these should be automatically given to individuals who have something to show for it. In the cases of 2006, 2010 and 2014, it should have been given to a player from Italy, Spain and Germany, respectively. No wonder Sepp Blatter emerged to a very loud chorus of boos after the Final at the Maracana.
Football fans must be taken seriously … there is no football without fans.
By Sibusiso Zwana