World Cup’10: TOP 10 “What The Eff Are They Doing In Africa?”

The FIFA World Cup 2010 will showcase the top names from every corner of the world. However, there are some players in the participating teams, some officials with doubtful credibility and some inept managers; they tend to make you wonder if the World Cup is, after all, a free-for-all.

Here are ten top names who have undeservingly made the trip to South Africa..

10. DJIBRIL CISSE (FRA)

So here is what you need to do if you want to make it to the World Cup. It’s called the “Djibril Cisse Algorithm”:

  1. Make a name for yourself in a league (France – Auxerre) that requires just a leg (or two) to score in, and not talent as such. Become the top scorer, or thereabouts, to attract attention of managers from the best league. The attention part can also be done with a weird hairdo.
  2. Move to a top club (Liverpool) in, arguably, the best league in the world (Premier League). Try the same success strategy in this league – i.e. knock the ball beyond the defender, and sprint as fast as you can, in a straight line, to reach it first. Are you in the World Cup yet?
  3. No? If you fail, because the defenders in the league are much smarter than you claim yourself to be, repeat points 1 (with Marseille) and 2 (with Sunderland). Reached the World Cup this time?
  4. Not yet? Move to one of the weakest leagues (Greece) in Europe during the World Cup season, become top scorer (Panathanaikos), and hope that the much more-talented and deserving striker (Benzema) has a poor season in a much tougher league (La Liga), thus conning the half-witted coach (Domenech) that selects your nation’s WC squad.

France's soccer player Cisse attends a news conference in La Reunion “Hmmm, how did I end up here?”

9. SHAUN WRIGHT-PHILLIPS (ENG)

The Manchester City winger must have been as surprised as the whole of England, when he heard about his inclusion in the squad. It simply defied logic.

In a head-to-head meeting, Fabio Capello decided to shun Adam Johnson; not only was he the find of the season in the English League, but also  he was the very player who managed to relegate Wright-Phillips to the bench at the same club. The winger  has been constantly preferred at City by manager Roberto Mancini.

Yes, Wright-Philipps has more international experience than Adam Johnson, but being six years older than Johnson, he has failed to live up to the hype. So, why go for a 29-year old unpredictable substitute who can hardly keep hold of possession, when you have an opportunity to thrust a more talented, stable and exciting 23-year old?

8. MARTIN PALERMO (ARG)

He couldn’t have even dreamt of it! It had been ten years since Martin Palermo last played for Argentina, in 1999. One year before the 2010 World Cup, Argentina’s new coach Diego Maradona decided to call Palermo, based on his form at Boca Juniors.

Argentina is going with six forward players, and his inclusion in the squad ensures there is no place for French league’s player of the year Lisandro Lopez.

He did score crucial goals in the World Cup qualifiers for Maradona. But at 36, he is going to find the opponents at the world stage tougher than in South America.

Who knows? Maybe old is, actually, Argentina’s gold.

Argentina vs Haiti

Palermo – Revival Man!

7. JULIO BAPTISTA (BRA)

A reserve at Roma throughout the season, Julio Baptista’s selection in the Brazil squad must be based on his Brazil form, whatever little was there of it. Ironically, he wasn’t called for World Cup 2006 during a time he was playing at his best.

Ronaldinho, on the other hand, lit up quite a few games in European club football this season and was also a regular for AC Milan. But Dunga preferred steel over flair in his midfield, opting for  Baptista over both Ronaldinho and Diego.

So, if Kaka misses a game due to injury, who is going to take up the creative role in midfield?

6. VINCENZO IAQUINTA (ITA)

Iaquinta is a striker who has been injured for most part of the season at Juventus, doesn’t have a prolific record as a striker, and can play as a winger with even less effect.

This is why one feels for Giuseppe Rossi – an Italian youngster who has represented Italy at all youth levels and who lit up the confederations cup in South Africa, an year ago.

Iaquinta has experience on the international stage, but in a dull set of Italy’s worst ever forwards, youth exuberance could have been a welcome and necessary change.

5. DAVID BECKHAM (ENG)

David Beckham will be at the World Cup. And the shriek of joy which most fans let out on reading that is the precise reason he is there. But David is injured, and a mere showpiece.

David Beckham stands with England players during a World Cup soccer training session near Rustenburg

Becks – keeping an eye out!

Officially, he is given the role of a ‘liaison’ – a communication medium between players and authorities. The role, apparently, requires him to monitor the players daily and report back their progress during training and during the cup itself.

Unofficially, though, he is there just to deflect the attention and focus of fans away from the players in the squad, and also to keep track of John Terry.

4. RAYMOND DOMENECH (FRA)

Yes, four years ago, the same man took France to the World Cup final. But did anyone expect him to be still in the same job, four years later? Domenech is yet to convince the world, or even the French, about his managerial abilities.

France barely made it to World Cup’10, after playing unattractive and defensive football throughout the campaign. Their Euro 2008 performance was also a damp squib.

Domenech has regularly played two defensive midfielders in his starting 4-4-2. Domenech’s tactics and strategies have always been questionable, and his reliance on Astrology for preferring certain players is just outright disgraceful.

3. MARTIN HANSSON (SWE)

The Swede is officiating at the World Cup and somehow, Sepp Blatter still talks about higher standards of refereeing.

If you don’t remember him, he is the same referee who missed the little game of self-volleyball Thierry Henry managed to play in Paris, before setting up the infamous winner for William Gallas.

That goal is the reason why France will be in South Africa playing at the World Cup and Ireland will be watching the tournament in the pubs.

FC Porto vs Arsenal

“Yeah, I saw that!”

2. EMILE HESKEY (ENG)

The whole of England’s fears came true, when Heskey – who apparently complements Rooney very well – was selected for the trip to South Africa. He is neither a prolific striker nor a striker with extreme work-ethic to compensate for it.

Darren Bent has scored 24 goals in 38 appearances for a struggling Sunderland. Emile Heskey, on the other hand, has scored 5 goals in 45 appearances for sixth-place Aston Villa. Even Agbonlahor, another one of England’s striking candidates, has done better at Aston Villa.

Unless the idea is to get the best out of Rooney by over-burdening him with scoring responsibility, it’s difficult to see how Emile fits into Capello’s plans!

1. SVEN-GORAN ERIKSSON (SWE)

A British media’s delight, Sven Goran Eriksson was a highly popular character on a comical TV show ‘ I’m on Setanta sports ’ . Oh, and he was also the England manager for six years; guiding England’s golden generation to the quarter-finals in all major tournaments.

Ivory Coast national soccer team training camp He’s back!

Other than that, he was a failure at managing English club Manchester City, and also Mexico. He took up the post of technical director at an English League two club – Notts County – as he was, apparently, impressed by the club’s finances and plans to become a premiership club. A few months later, he resigned after the club’s debts forced a takeover.

What did the Ivory Coast ever see in him?

73 Responses to “World Cup’10: TOP 10 “What The Eff Are They Doing In Africa?””

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  1. Kripky says:

    To me, Cisse’s selection is insane and so is Baptista’s!
    Nasri, Pato missing out cannot be digested.

    Crazy Mother of all selections wud be Heskey’s. Bent wud scratch his head and wonder what more he had to do for Sunderland! Such injustice!

  2. Arvind says:

    I think the part on Eriksson is ill-researched and a bit too simplistic and downright crazy. IMO he has been an qualified success in all his coaching roles in last 15 years bar the disaster at Mexico.

    Let me go one by one

    He took charge of a Manchester City team which had barely escaped relegation by 4 points and then spent some some good cash and turned them into a comfortable top half team. Oh BTW this was before the Sheikh’s days. Shinawatra didn’t drown the club in petro dollars. Next year Hughes spent four times the amount to finish one spot lower and flirt with relegation. And Hughes is still talked about greatly. Poor Swede must be wondering what the hell he did wrong there.

    Then 6 years as England manager. Yes he went out in QF in all the three major events, but realistically speaking were the English team better then the team they went out to? Oh yeah I forgot the great English Media which would like to project as if their team is some manna from heaven.

    2002 – They went out to a superior Brazil team. In 2004 and 06 they again went out on penalties to a Portuguese team which in any neutral’s opinion was as good as England team. Well yeah they didn’t have the power of media touting them as the greatest.

    Yes it could be argued that Eriksson didn’t exactly overachieve with England, but except the crazy English Pundits, nobody believes he underachieved with the team. His legacy was clouded by his skirt-chasing activities, but since when did we start judging football manager’s capabilities based on his abilities to charm the opposite sex.

    Last point… A so called bad manager in Eriksson, never had problems navigating the qualifiers. In fact England qualified all three tournaments fairly easily, in spite of being in a precarious state when he took over the 2002 WC qualifying campaign. What did his successor do?

  3. Yeah, I agree. Sven being number one was possibly harsh, and slightly biased.

    Yes, he has a great record but in recent years he hasn’t done anything to prove his pedigree. His teams have always lacked the cutting edge and he has lacked the motivational skills to bring his teams back from a bad run of games – England, City, Mexico. They never seem to ‘turn it around’.

    I don’t believe he is cut-out to manage at the truly top-level anymore and thus, I don’t think the Ivory Coast will benefit from him.

    At City, he was given enough cash to EXPECT a top-half finish. He bought players on advice of his friends and videos!! He wasn’t given enough time, though. But in the second-half of the season, the characteristic slump-without-signs-of-revival took place.

    And his English successor was Steve McLaren – his number two. If he made a World Cup team, he would have been right up there in this list!

  4. Arvind says:

    Talking about his stint at Manchester City, aren’t we being guilty of holding him to a different standard as compared to his (local) peers, specifically Mark Hughes.

    He took over a rotten team which would have expected to seriously struggle to escape relegation the season after. Yes there were rumours about him signing players based on videos. But most of his signings seem inspired that season (Elano, Petrov, Geovanni) And he did all this without spending crazy amount per player. Yes his team really struggled in last 3 months of the season. But then it can also be said that having achieved their objectives and with nothing to play for (no fear of relegation, no hope of reaching Europe), the team simply took their foot off the gas and got beaten badly a few times. Eriksson is guilty of allowing that complacence to seep in, but he did what most clubs in other countries would do. The problem is that Eriksson never had an opportunity to really “Turn it around” as he was given the boot by the end of the season.

    Look at Hughes’ performance next season. He had a decent team, built by his predecessor. Spent close to 100m pounds getting new talent. Yet they struggled to perform and till February the team had a realistic danger of being relegated, before finishing 10th.

    Was he better than Eriksson? Not by a million miles.

    I am not a great fan of Eriksson, but at least he has something which more than 26 other managers cannot boast of. A league title in a top tier league. That too getting Lazio to play real top notch football.

    Finally look at group rivals. Is Carlos Queiroz any better than him. With the kind of talent floating around in Portugal, they just managed to avoid doing a “Domenech” by a proverbial skin of their teeth.

    Based on performances as a manager, I would gladly choose Eriksson over the Portuguese who has had a below par career both with Madrid and now with Portugal.

  5. Cesc says:

    The same Eriksson who took world beaters like Vassell, Sinclair, Mills and a 36 year old Sheringham to the 2002 finals? The same idiot who took a 16 year old Walcott who hadn’t even played a game for Arsenal to the 2006 finals? The same inept loon who couldn’t get the best out of Scholes during his peak years due to his insistence on playing him out of position?

    Stuff it, the man is a qualified disaster.

  6. Cesc says:

    Or even an unqualified one.

  7. Somnath says:

    So does that mean you judge Scolari by his stints at Bunyodkor or Chelsea ? Does a failed stint at Inter make Marcello Lippi a “qualified” disaster ?

    Ericsson took over a team which usually reaches semis then gets knocked out & blames the referee. England did the same under him, that means while he didn’t bring on a change, he also was not a disaster.

    There better teams than England in 2002/06 world cup & lo two actually knocked them out.

    He has been a successful coach for most of his career, from winning UEFA Cup with small timer Goteberg to reaching European finals with Benfica. Not to forget the memorable stint at Lazio (who incidentally beat Man Utd in Super Cup)

    Just because he failed to get a bunch of overhyped players to semifinal, doesnt mean he was a disaster.

  8. Somnath says:

    *usually reaches quarters*

  9. Dhawal Verma says:

    What about Veron? Why is he not in this list? Cambiasso is almost 6 years younger and at the peak of his form.

  10. Somnath says:

    To be fair, Veron did play really well for Estudiantes in last year’s Copa Libertadores.

    I would put Gattuso or Iaquinta in that list.

  11. Dhawal Verma says:

    @Somnath… In terms of comparison with Cambiasso?

    Gattuso had a forgettable season but you cant rule him out for his dangerous instincts 😛
    A team needs a motivator like him specially when characters like Totti and ADP are not there.

  12. Arvind says:

    @ Cesc: At the 2002 WC I would love to know the alternatives to the players you mention. Yes Walcott was stupid, but thats all. Yes Scholes was played on left, but what alternative did he have apart from playing Scholes out of position, other than possibly asking Giggs to change his nationality.

    Wait a minute, it is the England team we are talking about not Brazil or Argentina which usually have an embarrassment of riches.

    Secondly… in the the Tournaments prior to Eriksson, this is what they did

    2000 Euro: 1st Round exit after finishing 3rd in group.
    98 WC: R16 Exit
    96 Euro: Semis while playing at home
    94 WC: Did not qualify
    92 Euro: Finished last in their group

    Agreed he had a better team, but then he also did better than any recent predecessor. And he is a failure… Wow what a judgment I say.

    Otherwise what did the deluded England fans expect? Lifting the trophy? Lets face it there are better teams out there.

    Or wait I forgot… that is the power of British media.

  13. Arvind says:

    @Dhawal: As an Inter fan I would have loved to see Cambiasso in the lineup but he is a different player compared to Veron. He had a monster season at Estudiantes, including the Club WC finals against Barca where he almost dragged his team single handed to an improbably victory before quality finally prevailed.

    The problem with Maradona’s selection is that though Veron is a good choice, he doesnt have the legs anymore to play every 4 days. Secondly, there is no like for like substitute available for Veron. Cambiasso would have been good if defending a lead. But he doesn’t have the vision or creativity compared to Veron.

    In short not fair to compare Chuchu with Veron.

  14. Ketan says:

    @ Arvind, If you do not have any problem with the name of Palermo(who also had a brilliant season with Boca) then why with Veron?
    Anyways, Someone here mentioned the name of Carlos Queiroz as a bad manager. Let me remind him that he played his most of qualification matches without charismatic Ronaldo and Deco. Nani used to be a shit and the abdundance talent you are talking about was just on videos. However he changed his tactics to compensate for that & deployed a defensive strategy. Which although reduced his team’s chances of scoring more goals yet also made sure they concede only 2 goals in their last 10 all important matches.
    This made sure Portugese didn’t lose any matches & got away with some crucial points away from home. They earned a chance to play in the qualifiers & qualified without being doing a French hand goal. & if you look at their form in the friendly matches, they look very strong with the return of Roanldo in their team. Carlos did made Portugal qualify(not the way expected them to though) & mind you, his job is not over as yet!

    Coming to the article, I am surprised with the inclusion of SWP name. I agree he has been enigmatic throughout his career, but what other options England have had? We know Fabio prefers experience, so exclusion of Adam was not not surprising(I hate it when he didn’t pick him). And you wouldn’t want him to pick Walcott, do you? Had Becks been fully fit, I guess there wouldn’t have been much debate on who should go & who shouldnt.

    Btw, Rest choices are good, but please make no 10 as no 1 😛 😛

  15. crouchey says:

    @Somnath: Iaquinta IS in the list. (No. 6).

    @Ketan: Whether Capello likes to pick experience players or not, doesn’t change the fact that Adam Johnson should have been England’s young weapon at the cup. Most teams have one, England doesn’t seem to.

    I wonder if Diego Maradona’s managerial skills could have got him into this list..