Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 6th 2014 Contents A61
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GENEVA---Former Fifa executive
committee member Vernon Manilal
Fernando says he is waiting for a date
from sport s highest court to appeal
his life ban for alleged corruption.
Fernando tells The Associated Press
a Court of Arbitration for Sport panel
has been appointed to judge the case
but has not scheduled a hearing.
FIFA expelled the Sri Lankan offi-
cial, an associate of Mohamed bin
Hammam, last October for breaking
ethics rules, including conflict of in-
terest, bribery, and accepting gifts.
FIFA has never specified details of
Fernando says he "most certainly"
plans to attend his hearing at the
court s headquarters in Lausanne,
FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert
initially suspended Fernando for eight
years, but the sanction was challenged
by prosecutor Michael Garcia. FIFA s
appeals committee then imposed a
life ban. (AP)
Banned Fifa official Fernando awaits CAS hearing
Go to any shoe store or apparel
Web site this summer, and you
will almost literally be kicked in
the head with options for World
By my count, the big-three inter-
national football manufacturers---
Adidas, Nike and Puma---are offer-
ing more than 150 combined
options for soccer cleats, flats and
other footy footwear this summer.
As soon as you pick out your
favourite pair of shoes from the
Samba Pack or the Magista Col-
lection, out come 15 more with
"battle designs" or "snake venom"
used as sewing thread or whatever
crazy gimmick the companies can
employ to get us to pay attention,
buy more stuff and outclass our
friends on the pitch.
It s no longer just Adidas and
Nike either. Puma is going so rogue
this summer that it is giving all its
athletes two different colour
shoes---one pink and one blue---to
get people like me to pay more
attention to those wearing Pumas.
(Job well done, public-relations
And yet maybe not all that well
done. During a recent MLS match,
just after the United States roster
was cut to 23 players, Maurice Edu
was spotted by the television
announcers wearing the multi-
coloured boots, leading those
announcers to speculate if it was
some kind of protest of the red,
white and blue. (Pink and blue are
close to red and blue, after all.)
Still, the gimmick got them talk-
ing and got people like me to yell
on social media about how people
like them didn t know their current
And speaking of promotions,
wow, are there a lot of awesome
promotions, perhaps none better
than the playground pickup game
that turns into an All-Star extrav-
aganza, where a boy morphs into
the Incredible Hulk who morphs
into American keeper Tim Howard.
("Hulk in a Nike commercial? I
thought he wore Mizuno?" I know,
me too! It s all very confusing.)
Nike has gone all-in early, while
it seems Adidas---creator of the
official World Cup ball---is just get-
ting started with the big World Cup
Puma has decided to hold off
until after the World Cup to try to
capitalise on the brand push, with
CEO Bjorn Gulden telling
Bloomberg, "The car companies
and credit-card companies have
deeper pockets than we have. You
die quickly," when trying to keep
up with World Cup advertising.
(Puma has been flooding social
media with its players interviewing
themselves, so it s not like it is
Ultimately, though, it doesn t
matter how many commercials the
companies bombard us with during
the next six weeks or even how
many different colours, styles and
textures each of the brands puts
out this year.
What it will come down to for
most players around the world
looking to buy their next set of
shoes is who they like and what
For many consumers, wearing
Nike or Adidas is akin to telling the
world you are fan of Cristiano
Ronaldo or Lionel Messi.
A fan of US Soccer might be
more inclined to shop Nike, but if
Jozy Altidore is your favourite play-
er, maybe Adidas is your move.
And with that, let s try to figure
out which manufacturer will have
the best team of player represen-
tatives at the 2014 World Cup.
Which brand boasts the best 23-
man roster? Which team would
produce the best XI in Brazil?
The Nike list, like that of Adidas,
was harder to cut down to 23 than
it was to fill with enough stars going
to Brazil to build an effective team.
With some help from the Nike PR
office, we put together a list of play-
ers that, unlike Adidas, had a much
more balanced feel to building a
team. That doesn t mean the team
is necessarily better, but it certainly
is more balanced.
Before we get to those who made
the cut, there are some big names
left off the list. Sorry, Landon Dono-
van, but you have to be included in
the World Cup to be included in
this. And sorry too to Clint
Dempsey, who did not make the
final cut for Nike s squad.
Joining Dempsey on the outside
were Jerome Boateng, Hugo Lloris,
Robert Lewandowski and Yohan
Cabaye, among dozens of others.
And Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Poor, poor
Zlatan, who would obviously be the
starting striker for this team had
he been on a World Cup roster.
Enough about who isn t there,
let s talk about who is. Thibaut
Courtois gets the nod in goal over
Tim Howard, if for no other reason
than Howard let up the game-win-
ning goal in that all-Nike pickup
match to a little kid doing a panen-
ka.Nike would employ a very Ital-
ian-inspired 3-4-3 formation, with
Thiago Silva, Raphael Varane and
Gerard Pique as the back three, sup-
ported by Sergio Ramos, David Luiz
and Pepe. Frankly, of that group,
Luiz might be a better option to
start, but since we already had a
Brazilian for PSG on the back line,
who needs two?
The midfield is just as balanced
as the overall roster. Starting nods
were given to Luka Modric in the
holding role and Eden Hazard,
Andrea Pirlo and Andres Iniesta in
more attacking positions with
options off the bench nearly as good
at every spot.
Pablo Zabaleta is more of a wing
defender, but with three centre-
backs there was no place for him
on the back line, giving the Nike
team the versatility to slide him in
if it had a lead. Similarly, Michael
Bradley could spell Modric and
move up into more of an attacking
role if needed.
Mario Gotze could play anywhere
on the field, and Wesley Sneijder
might deserve a starting nod over
Hazard or even Pirlo when he s at
the top of his game.
The forwards provide the most
controversial decision, as Franck
Ribery starts on the bench behind
Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and
Gonzalo Higuain, with Wayne
Rooney, Didier Drogba and Danny
Welbeck as the other options.
Should Ribery start? Probably,
but that would have meant moving
Neymar or Ronaldo into the middle,
which didn t feel like the best use
of Nike s top two stars. Higuain
provides a target option, while
Rooney would give a little more in
terms of possession in a second
Drogba got the nod because you
tell him he s not invited to this party.
Go ahead, I ll wait.
Puma---A Resurgent Group
I did this exercise two years ago,
pitting Nike s top XI against that
of Adidas. While I had hoped to
include Puma then, we didn t feel
there were enough top players to
make it matter.
Puma has a wonderful roster of
talent wearing the pink and blue
• Look out for Part II tomorrow
Adidas vs Nike vs Puma: Who
has the best roster at WCup?
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