Category Archives: world cup

Qatar’s proposed “Tower of Death” Tribute to fallen Migrant Workers

In a move that is definitely the brain-child of a twisted Engineer, Architecture collective 1Week1Project has proposed the development of a bleak-looking memorial building to mark the number of migrant workers who have died in Qatar building the infrastructure for the hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022. (link)

As you might have heard, Qatar has not been having a very smooth ride towards its aspirations to host the 2022 World Cup. Before the allegations of bribery, the news of unsafe and inhumane working conditions that the laborers building the city are subjected to, which is highlighted in this video, took center stage:

The proposed idea to build a “Tower of Death” for the fallen migrant workers, as a “Tribute” is preposterous at best!

tower of death

If I were a visual artist, I would have turned the color of this tower into the Qatar Flag, however as I am a writer, please try to read this and envision that

The proposal by 1Week1Project, which is based in France and Chile, has advocated building a towering structure made of giant stones, one for each dead worker, who make up 400 of the approximately 1,000 deaths.

A crane is planned to be placed at the top of the structure, which will add more stones to the tower as more deaths occur in the run up to the start of the tournament in 2022.

The whole idea seems insanely morbid and vile. The higher up the tower goes, the more deaths there have been. What kind of “tribute” is that? Who would look at that tower and feel anything but contempt for the backers of such projects who put zero value to the lives of their workers?

Would it not be a better idea to direct all the money earmarked for this Tower of Death towards a fund benefiting the families of the deceased migrant workers? Just a thought perhaps? The families of the deceased will never travel to Qatar to look up at this tower, smile, shed a lone tear, feel that their loved ones death was a sacrifice for the greater good, turn around and board a plane back to their country.

The Curse of the #WorldCup Champion #Spain #Brasil #FIFA #2014

It is true what they say, the champions of the world are cursed.

In order for a curse to be proven as a trend, it must recur several times over the course of history.

The Cautionary tale of Champions

Let us go back to the year 1998; the world cup was held in France, and the final saw the returning champions (for the last time) taking on the host nation, Brazil lost that day.

Since that fateful world cup, a new curse, a Brazilian Samba Curse, was cast upon whomsoever would be crowned champion of the coveted world sport of Football, he who wins the cup shall face bitter defeat in the qualifying rounds of the next world cup.

One Cup to Rule them All

It would make sense that the curse be of Brazilian origin as they were denied the feat of winning the cup two tournaments in a row.

Let us look at the stats to support this trend:

France beat Brazil in 98. They failed to qualify and were taken out early during the tournament.

Brazil beat Germany in 2002. They failed to qualify past the 16 round in 2006.

Italy beat France in 2006. They failed to qualify past the 32 round in 2010.

And now, the worst of all affected, Spain. The Matadors. Dealt the worst defeat in World Cup History. Not only were they shellacked by their finals rivals The Netherlands at 5 – 1 to make up for the finals of 2010, they failed to win their second match, alienating them from advancing past the round of 32.

Tis true, fame is a fickle friend.

In the Football Trenches – Kuwait Vs. South Korea FIFA 2014 Qualifier

Yesterday marked the losing of my Stadium-ginity, as I had never before been to a live football match in all my 25 years.

And the experience was OVERWHELMING!

Viva, the organisers of this event, had invited bloggers (such as myself) and arranged special tickets for us.

I started my drive towards the stadium at 7:20, afraid I might miss it. Fortunately, I was mistaken, the traffic could be seen a mile away. Now I realised why people had told me to go MUCH earlier, it was not to get in line for tickets, but to get in line for seating!

I drove in and out of deadlocked traffic sniffing for a spot to park my car, finding none. In the end, I entered an almost empty parking lot, directly infront of the water towers in the area, and left my car there. On the way towards the stadium, the police were kind enough to direct us towards the entrance, on the way there I saw a fellow blogger, who stood out because she had her name emblazoned on the back of her Jersey (Q8Rain), I quickly followed her, in total non-stalker manner, as I realised she must have the same tickets I do!

I called up MyBloogle’s guest, Mark, and he was also scouting for a spot. On the way to the stadium, I realised there were plenty of closer spaces, however the police had cordoned off the area, much to my chagrin.

The ambience outside the stadium was electric, you could almost feel the ground shake beneath the feet of the thousands of fans.

I called Mark again, and he cancelled, it was a huge place to cover, and I hoped he wouldn’t get lost. I was outside the gate, tickets in hand, awaiting. Lo and behold, like moths to a flame, right before me I saw Mark! How on earth we had congregated to the same location is beyond me. I gave him his ticket, and we headed over to the gate.

And now the fun begins.

The gate through which we were supposed to enter had been turned into a “Family Only” area, as the crowd started getting rowdy, the Army started shoving people out of the way forcibly. We quickly stood back and walked to other gates, our tickets forgotten in our pockets.

Before any bloggers invited by Viva complain about the seating, please note the following. arranged the entire match, not just for the bloggers, but for all of Kuwaits spectators. Bloggers were special guests, but spectators like everyone else. However, in the matter of an international football match, it is a matter of national security. Hence the Army’s presence.

Mark and I moved from one gate to another, even going as far as the visiting sides gate, to be told the same thing, the stands were packed and there was no room to throw a needle, much less seat a full grown adult.

As we moved from gate to gate, we witnessed sheer bedlam as people were climbing over the fence, right before the very eyes of the police! There was one ticked off American fellow who purportedly flew in all the way from California to watch the match, and was furious at the fact that he was sold a ticket which he would not be able to use.

Mark had a plan. We journeyed far outside to the other gates, and attempted to walk in through there. The first gate we passed inside the stadium was bolted. Not to be disheartened, we continued forth and came upon, an open gate!

We quickly walked up the stairs to find, much to our chagrin, that there were no empty seats, however, the organiser at the gate, seeing our tired and weary faces, blue shirts and my face-paint, allowed us to sit on the stairs.

My choice of black jeans for the evening was a mistake, as it was quickly turned into a vile shade of dust, with people trampling up and down all over me.

The game was etching on, and it seemed no sooner did we sit down that South Korea opened up the score with a 1 – nil lead.

The atmosphere within the stands was beyond explanation. We clapped, we cheered, we jeered and we booed the ref’s wrong calls. I was unaware of the chants, but I did make out one:

The Blue, The Blue, like the waves of the Sea.

I noticed number 7, the only player on the national team that I can recognise instantly, and little by little was able to pick his name from the crowd, Fahad Al-Onaizi (love the hair).

When it came time to wave, we all stood up and screamed, keeping an eye on the stands before us to witness the movement of the wave. We did it 5 or 6 times, I lost count, and my camera lens could not properly capture the rising motion of the crowd. You just had to be there.

We saw a person get carried away by others from the stands, what had happened to him was anyone’s guess, I saw no blood, the kid must have fainted from the lack of oxygen.

Once half-time called, the stampede began, and again, I was trampled as people left their seats. Unaware of the decorum to be followed once people leave their seats, we elected to remain on our concrete stairs. Two Kuwaiti’s around us took pity on our plight, and in a warm gesture of Arab Hospitality offered us juice, which we accepted. Mark returned the favor in kind by offering them ice-cream, which they declined. The half-time break saw a flurry of people walk down the stairs, as well as up. No room to maneuver.

As the second half kicked off, the stairs were relatively less crowded. 10 or so minutes into the second half, Kuwait scored the equaliser.

And the crowd went wild!

At one point, the ref failed to call a penalty for Kuwait, and people started jeering and, the more raucous supporters started tossing trash into the pitch. The other spectators themselves told that minute group to cease and desist.

As the game whistle blew, the festivities came to a close, a one all tie was declared.

I had the supporters in the stadium at 5,000; Mark said 8,000. What do you say?

The only negatives I would point to would be the overflow of trash outside the stadium, as again, there were no organised trash bins, which even if there were, I do not believe the people would have used them. Also, a few of the younger supporters were jeering any Asian looking person in the streets, believing them to be South Korean. A few, not all.

I had attempted to take an alternative route to my car, and ended up circling around the entire length of the stadium from the outside, having passed by the landmark signaling my parking spot twice, completely unaware.

Despite the mishaps, the experience was thoroughly enjoyable.

Stills from the event are soon to come.

Kuwait 1 : South Korea 1

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More soon!

Kuwait Times Fail

It has been almost a month now since the end of the much-anticipated world cup, with Spain emerging victorious as Paul the octopus predicted.

Correct me If I am wrong, but doesnt the term “Cartoon of the Day” imply that a new cartoon be selected on a daily basis?

If so, then Kuwait Times is seriously in need of updating, as this is and has been their cartoon of the day for the past 30 or so days.

Check it out @ http://www.kuwaittimes.net/

Size MATTERS!

Atleast in competitve sports.

Here is a picture of the world cup, winners et all:

Pay close attention to the size of the cup itself, to be shared amongst 11 or more team members.

Now, have a look at Sumo Wrestlings World Champion Hakuho (of Mongolian origin) and his trophy(ies):

(Large enough to fit his baby child)
(Big enough for him to sit in)

Conspiracy Sports- The Economics of Football

In the wake of a spectacular finale to the much anticipated event of the decade, another world cup has finally come to an end. An era for the underdogs, Spain managed to successfully scale the ladder and not only participate in its first world cup final, but also go on to win it, upsetting the 3rd-time-no-charm Dutch team and in the process, lifting the spirits of the Spanish Nation.

To the victor shall go the spoils of war; and a war it was that day.

However, I am not here to delve into the physical attributes of the game, I spy with my all seeing eye, a trend of sorts in sports.

As many, or most, or few know, Spain is one of the countries dubbed the PIGS nations. That is no insult, wait, it is an insult, however it is merely an acronym for the countries that are on the brink of economic collapse; Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain.
The BBC article on Spain’s celebrations had an interesting passage, here is an excerpt:

It is the first sign that perhaps the huge feel-good factor provided by this win can help Spain’s struggling economy.


The team’s victory has certainly lifted the nation, at least briefly. With mass unemployment and recession, Spaniards have not had much to smile about recently.

Another article reads:

In Spain unemployment continues to edge up. It is close to 20% and is more than 40% for those aged between 16 and 24. The International Monetary Fund forecasts that Spain’s economy will shrink this year by 0.4%. It is struggling to emerge from recession. Spain has a budget deficit of 10%.


In the private sector there is still huge debt, some of which may have to be written off. The Spanish good years were built on a housing boom. It was, for a time, the biggest creator of jobs in the EU. The burst bubble has left behind an injured coastline, 800,000 unsold homes, and companies burdened with debt.

A question to ponder, how is it that, a team as rich, diverse, talented and drive as Germany’s young squad, claiming victories of 4-0, 4-1, 4-0 on Australia, England and Argentina respectively, could lose 1-0 to Spain? Some may argue the pitch decides, there are a myriad many more factors etc. Germany were the fan-favourites to go on to the finals this year, no one ever suspected Spain.

Is there an invisible hand that drives and manipulates the games? Could this be the conspiracy of the century? I have other facts, albeit they all loosely tie together, I shall weave this intricate portrait and let you draw your own conclusions.

To answer the first question, FIFA, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association.

This year, FIFA’s stranglehold on countries and politics was made eminent on two separate occasions, they’re rebuffing of France’s inquiry into the dismal performance of its world cup squad, as well as their reversal of President Goodluck Johnsons decision to disband Nigeria’s squad for two years pending an inquiry.

Sports = Revenue, not just for the players; there are international referees, endorsements etc. it is a multi-trillion dollar industry, and FIFA has sole bragging rights, a monopoly on international sports. Blatter, or one of his predecessors, stated that they provide people with the “commodity” of football, not the sport.

In global terms, FIFA is a source of income and wealth for all participating nations, much like the World Bank and the IMF (International Monetary Fund), however, in ranking the strictness of policies, FIFA holds all the cards, followed by the IMF which basically purchases controlling interest by giving loans to “rich” countries and setting certain covenants on how the debt is to be repaid, last but not least, the World Bank, the poorer nations source of funds. That is basic economics.

On every continent, in every country, FIFA has a foothold, referred to as CONCACAF in North America, CONMEBOL in South America, UEFA in Europe, CAF in Africa, AFC in the Asia and OFC in Australasia.

One case is not enough to be a conspiracy. Correct. So let us examine two other cases.

First, Euro-cup 2004, Greece upset Portugal and won; its first international victory in its history in lieu of Athens 2004 (The Olympics). The Greek economy was not struggling at the time; they already had Athens 2004 in the bag. What of the expenses required in setting up Athens? Could they possibly have been financed through the Euro-cup victory? Is it not a possibility, that in light of winnings awarded to teams, countries, economies, also share a piece of the proverbial pie?

Greek Celebrations in Athens

FYI The world cup payoffs this year:

1st place: €30million

2nd place: €24million (or 25, disputed reports heard on TV)

3rd place: €20million (or 15, disputed reports heard on TV)

4th place: €18million

3rd round knockout: €14million

2nd round knockout: €9million

1st round knockouts: €8million

One could argue that the euphoria of hosting the Olympic Games fuelled the excitement that made Greece’s miraculous victory a reality. Again, I say, what if?

In terms of marketing, being a country that hosts the Olympics, along with also winning the Euro-cup a few months previous, further adds to the country’s worth.

Second, African Cup 2006, Egypt claims another victory, in wake of the tragic sinking of the Egyptian ferry in the red sea, and the loss of 1600 lives. Egypt is an economy that has been subsiding on 40% of its true income, as the rest is lost, stolen or squandered by the Powers-That-Be. Adding to that, the death toll of the sinking ferry, Egypt was in need of a respite. Hosting the games, and effectively winning. Their previous victory in 2004 not withstanding, the hand that feeds decided that that year, the victory should quell the tragedy.

All in all, the world revolves around Marketing. Everything is a product, everything is an endorsement, money makes the world go round.
To every rule, there is an exception, this could be naught but a whisper in the wind, however,,,

What If?

W.C.W – World Cup Woes

As one gets older and wiser, they realise the world is a much less glamorous place than one once thought.

Since the start of the World Cup, a spectacle never before placed on the African Continent, that takes place once every four years, I have lost faith in competitive sports.

The key word this year: Controversy.

To start with, yesterday’s match pitting Uruguay against Ghana. The Ghanian Team shined as the brightest African Star this year, having reached the finals of the African Cup, and now the quarter finals of the World Cup. The method under which they were eliminated was shameful.

Ghana managed to score an impressive goal in the last 15 seconds of stoppage time during the first half of the game, an impressive legger 35m away from the goal found its way to the back of the Uruguay Net.

During the second half, a well placed free kick from Diego Forlan equalised the score at one all. It would be a game of lost opportunities from then on. Until the last minute of extra time.

A blatant violation by Suarez, Uruguay’s top scorer, prevented a surefire Ghanaian goal from being realised. A red card and a missed penalty kick later, and we enter the free kicks. Which, is more about luck than skill. Uruguay prevailed, Ghana’s hopes were crushed in a single blow.

This is but one example. How many red cards were given? It seems football is no longer the clean, competitive sport one once imagined, it is a game of smoke and mirrors, charades and acts.

The Brazilian player Felipe Melo who got a red card against Holland yesterday for stepping onto the Robben’s leg.

Kieta, from Nigeria, who booted the Greek player Vassilis Torosidis in the thigh.

Anthar, the Algerian, for un-sports-man-like conduct after the USA’s Landon Donovan scored a goal in stoppage time.
Yahia’s aggressive tirade of De Bleeckere was definitive dissent and while one could understand his frustration, there is no excuse for him unloading it onto the official. – http://referees.worldcupblog.org/

The list goes on, and on.

Watching the games this year, and the awful officiating, the clear violations that are overlooked, the unearned goals that are allowed, and the proper goals that are cancelled. One never focused on these blatant violations before, believing it to exist only on the street-pitches, the minor leagues, but never, ever, ever in the World Cup.

Class is a missing element in training nowadays. How many players feign injuries in order to give their team an advantage?

The oldest, unwritten law of the playground, that all boys must abide by is “I will not tell”. Therefore, a child would conclude that these players are not men, as they are so quick to tattle and tell.

It is my firm belief that more has to be done to punish those that toy with the rules. If a player illegally prevents a goal from the other team from being scored, asides from sending them off the pitch, a hefty fine must be imposed upon them, and the opposing team must be given 2 opportunities to score, much like basketball.

Ghana was robbed of a victory. All the talk on the internet about how it was an honest mistake on Luis Suarez’s part and how it ended with the missed penalty shot is rubbish. Suarez is an international player, he should know better. And for those who claim he did for the 3.5million watching at home who have never reached the semi-finals in so long, well what of the 23million in Ghana, whose hopes were crushed?

The fallout of this world cup is staggering. France is thrown into turmoil, Nigerian President Goodluck has banned the team from playing internationally for two years, Japanese & Italian Coach call it quits, The fate of The English coach is still unknown.

The age of chivalry and good conduct is long dead.

Banning Big Brother

It is impossible, with this much media coverage, to not be drawn into the vicious cycle that is world cup fever. Whether you don a team jersey, face-paint or any other form of memorabilia, to each their own, we all have different ways of saying the same thing, this Summer, football is the universal language.

A spectacle that takes place once every 4 years, what more can one ask for? The international exposure is beyond overwhelming. Countries do battle on the field for the coveted trophy they get to keep for the next 4 years. And it is a battle on the field.

The battle that immediately comes to mind is the England Vs. Germany match.

History
 the English have squared off against their German counterparts on 4 separate occasions. The first being their meeting during the finals of the 66 Cup, which England went on to win, their sole victory, which was also shrouded in controversy. It seems Karma has returned for payback 44 years later.

1970, quarter finals, England 2 West Germany 3.

1982, second round, zero-all.

1990, semi-finals, 1-1. Penalty kicks, West Germany wins by a factor of 1, 3 to 4.

Many viewed their meeting during 2010 as Englands triumphant return, recapturing the glory of ’66, even donning the same colored uniform as their predecessors. The only part of history to repeat itself on that fateful day was the controversial bouncing of the ball, from the top bar, onto the goal line, and beyond. Despite various camera angles signifying that the ball did infact enter the goal vicinity, the decision was made to ignore the goal. England went on to their most bitter defeat at the hands of Germany, 4 – 1.

This has sparked a fierce debate regarding the referees, visual impairment, and the possibility of using electronic sensors to alert the referee to things such as the ball crossing the line etc.

It is my belief however, that the game should remain free from Big Brother’s watchful eye.

When the first players inflated a pigs bladder and kicked it around for fun, football was created. Little has been done to the sport since then; you have 5-aside football played indoors, and 11-aside football played on a pitch. Other than that, the sport is relatively stable.

During the games I kept envisioning extreme football, much like Vince McMahons now defunct XFL, having camera’s on the players to give a real-life experience to the watchers, even a camera on the ball itself! Playing a game with a wider goal, and two goalies etc. The possibilities of messing with the game are endless, however, classic football has not changed.

Now, the very concept of controversy is that it harms one and benefits another. One team is angered, another is elated. Think back to when controversy served to make a people proud. The infamous “Hand of God” incident during the finals of ’86.

Ironically, England was victim this time, 20 years after they “stole one” from Germany. Fate is a fickel friend, and despite believing that their cosmic payback was settled, once again, England is robbed.

The shot:

Clearly in.

We perform several silly acts in the name of superstition and tradition. Despite vehement claims of their audacity, we continue to believe in preserving the ways of old. It is the reason why people opt to throw a pinch of salt over their left shoulder if they spill the salt. It is the root for many flaws that in the end, reassert our humanity.

Human error is what makes the game special. If electronics were allowed to interfere with human judgment, what would be the difference between watching a live football match, and playing Winning Eleven or Pro-Evolution Soccer? What the lord giveth, the lord taketh. In a game that pits two opponents against each other, one will always walk away the beneficiary, whilst the other wallows in the pains of what could have been.

In order to perserve tradition, the game must be allowed to continue, in all its imperfection, as it is that imperfection that ultimately, makes it that much more fun to watch.

When Science goes Bad

This day in age, it seems that everything that can be done, has been done. The atom has been spliced, and we now know it is not the smallest moelcule, the second has been reduced to the femtosecond, the very process that ignited creation is purportedly being studied via the LHC.

What do scientists do, when there aren’t enough exciting discoveries to go around?

This unique, wacky individual has lain claim that the FIFA world cup is NOT as the millions of fans around the world believe, made of solid gold.

Firstly, what is it with scientists and crazy hair-styles? You are no Albert Einstein, or is it simply to claim one has no time to spare on looks when involved in such riveting, mind-boggling discoveries such as this.

In an interview show on the BBC, the Professor explains:
“According to my calculations, if it was solid all the way through, it would have somewhere between 70 and 80kg of gold in it.”

Please bear in mind, the good professor has never been interested in football, and has yet to watch a single world cup match.

And, the noble prize for Chemistry goes to…

Not to be outdone, a group of researchers have banded together to prove that X-rated websites are infact, above being a cesspool of indecency and promoting promiscuity, are in fact putting their users in clear and present danger by exposing them (lol) to mal-ware and cyber criminals.

Literally, caught with their proverbial “pants down”.

The most interesting paragraph from this article on the BBC as well:
“By creating their own porn sites researchers found that many consumers were vulnerable to known bugs and loopholes.

Begs the question, what kind of material did they use on said websites? “Lab techs gone wild”, “Geeks on the rise”, “Science of Erections”?

and, the piece de resistance:
“As a first step the researchers trawled pornographic sites to classify what they found and how the industry was structured. “

After reading the BBC article, a majority of middle-school children changed their ideal career path from firemen and policemen to researchers.

Try to imagine a researcher, sitting at the dinner table with his wife and children, being asked, what new and exciting topics have you been researching father?

I for one am very pleased to find out that science is taking such mundane issues seriously, how many people are expected to work on a cure for cancer, AIDs, cereberal palsy, Autism and the likes? Hereditary diseases, nonsense, we need to know why porn sites are stealing our money, and what the world cup trophy is really made out of.

And that, is the News.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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