Coin toss time: Brazil 2014

This is the week–June 12, to be precise. Kick off for the Brazil 2014 World Cup. These events have become mired in stinky, sticky stuff for many years. I don’t follow that very closely, but glance at much of it. What has been hitting the fan and spraying off onto walls and neatly pressed clothes?

Cameroon were in a spat about bonus pay, so were refusing to travel to Brazil. Well, a fool would have known that would not last long. However, it was resolved, Samuel Eto’o was not going to pass up a last chance to show his Chelsea team boss that age ain’t nothing but a number.

Eto’o was too funny after his age was questioned by his club coach.

The players settled their dispute with the government and Fecafoot (the national federation), and will receive 5.8m CFA francs (about US$ 12,000) more than the 50m CFA francs originally offered to each player for their participation in the tournament. The federation had to borrow the funds privately to pay the bonuses, pending money from FIFA months after the tournament.

Cameroon’s coach, Volker Finke, must be thinking what next? Anyway, the lads headed off to Brazil and are already happily snapping selfies on their smartphones.

Lots of teams played friendly matches to warm up for La Mondiale. Jamaica got a face planting by France in Lille on Sunday, 8-0. The Jamaican newspapers were full of guff, talking about ‘humiliation’, as if Jamaica, who made it to the big dance in 1998, in France, were in the same league as les Blues, who won the World Cup that year. Really? Jamaica limped in last in their group qualifying, and didn’t register a win: that was humiliation, not being beaten badly by the likes of France.

But, Italy did the strangest thing, playing against a top Brazilian club side, Fluminese, and winning 5-3. We were treated to Mario Balotelli sporting two different coloured football shoes, along with another haircut.

Mario ‘two coloured shoes’ Balotelli, keeps his hair on while playing Fluminese.

But, wasn’t that playing with fire? What if the local team had been on the phone with Brazil’s coach, ‘Big Phil’ Scolari: “So, which of them do you want seriously hurt, and which ones just banged up?” Italy’s coach, Prandelli, might have had a few players looking like chopped salami in a deli. Maybe, I’m just an old, cynical player, but my mouth would have been watering at the prospect doing ‘my part’ for my country. 🙂

Finally, for now, two points. First, teams have moved a long way in preparing for matches. England have done extensive preparatory work. This included team players being given iPads that contain a Brazil 2014 scouting app specially developed by the Football Association and tailored for each member of the squad’s needs. Makes you wonder: Candy Crushing Italy, before the first game.

What about nutritional preparations for the World Cup? Reports suggested fans would find local food will be much more expensive than usual. An app, Ju$to, has been created that allows price comparisons. I thought I would travel with some popular fare from Jamaica. Patties? Grace prepared meals? No, bully beef, produce of…Brazil. Well, here’s how it may be made into something very appealing.

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