DEBATE – JABULANI: EXCITING OR ERRATIC?

It seems that initial fears about the adidas Jabulani’s unpredictability aren’t exactly fading away.

Many of you will remember a debate that we had here on Footy-Boots.com a while back on whether it was time we left football design alone. This debate was spurred after complaints had arisen at the start of the MLS season about the new Jabulani that the teams are using for the first time this season.

Coach Capello has more Jabulani’s than he knows what to do with – but he’s not happy with them

Now, after an extensive week’s training with the adidas World Cup Ball, Fabio Capello has raised concerns on behalf of his players:

Capello said: “We selected Austria so that the players would understand more the way the ball behaves. It’s completely different.

“Irdning is not as high as Johannesburg or Rustenburg but still the ball movement is completely new. That is why the players have to use the ball every day in training. That will be really important.

“I’ve seen that the ball arrives really fast and the players are having problems controlling it. For the goalkeepers it is terrible because it is always moving.

“For this reason every training session ends with shooting practice at the keepers, to prepare the players for the movement of the ball.”

So, Capello’s main concerns are the speed and the flight of ball. We’ve heard from the MLS and the Bundesliga that the Jabulani‘s flight is wobbly and unpredictable, but the news form the England camp that the ball ‘arrives too fast’ is the first we’ve heard.

The question we want answering from you all, though, is this: Are these qualities good things?

Many would argue that a ball that rockets through the air or along the ground encourages the game to be the quickest that it can be.

I don’t think there’s a football fan alive that would not love a World Cup where every cross-field ball arrowed through the air towards the attacker, or when a team launches a counter a attack with a through-ball gliding past the defence.

Could the Jabulani be too fast for even the lightning-quick Aaron Lennon?

As for the unpredictability, if you look back to the last World Cup – which were the two goals that people watch on Youtube again and again, even to this day?

Maxi Rodriguez against Mexico and Joe Cole against Sweden – why? Because of their unpredictability! Both strikes came out of nowhere, slammed into the top corner – its the sort of goal everyone who’s ever kicked a football dreams of scoring at the World Cup!

Others would say that the ball moving awkwardly through the air is distinctly a bad thing. Goals flying in that should have been simple for the keeper, due to a wobble on the ball upset the spirit of the game.

So is this inherent unpredictability a bad thing?

We want to know what you think! Tell us what you’ve read, whether you’ve played with the Jabulani or whether you reckon you can tell us why this ball, more than any other, is taking such stick? [poll id=”33″]

Receive exclusive content and the latest football boot news. Just click onto Facebook or Twitter.com/Footy_Boots to join the leading community for footballers who care for what they wear!


18 Comments

  • i believe they should have stopped with the last world cup ball. it worked perfectly and was top of its class in terms of flight and touch. they didnt need to go and change the ball that much.
    and any good player can make the ball move unpredictably if you get the right spin on it. and a ball that shoots awkwardly in the air would be a hindrance on the players too not just the keepers cuz it could potentially be harder to place

  • i have played with the jabulani for the addidas 7 a side cup last saturday and i must say that i do not like this ball. it is so unpredictable and light that using the normal power u use to shoot footballs cannot be used with these kinds of balls because u would either rocket the ball in the stands or get a ridiculous dip shot that ends up not even close on target. players who have trained with these balls would noe how the ball behaves but new comers to this ball will certainly haf a hard time.

  • I’ve played with the play in pick up matches with several of my friends and honestly, it’s not bad. We take a few shots at goal to readjust and then go at it for the rest of the day. Sure, it’s not true to flight like comparison to the Nike Ascente (which I do own, and must say is another great ball). As long as you remember how to strike the ball in the way you want it to go, it works pretty well for you.

    Another point to take note of, that’s how I also scored several of my goals yesterday as well, by striking the top corners of the goal from beyond the 18 yard line.

  • as a keeper i agree with what gordon banks has been saying lately, modern day balls are too unpredictable. i played a match lately with the jabulani and the amount it moves in the air is ridiculous. i conceded a goal simply because of how rapidly the flight of the ball changed, i was sure that i had it covered and then at the last moment it moved in the air and i couldnt keep it out. obviously for the neutrals it will make the matches more exciting but for us football realists something needs to be done. there is a danger of over-developing footballs. every year they claim to have made it ‘the roundest ball yet’, we must quickly be approaching the line where development cannot continue.

  • Ive played with the new ball and its not that bad, its the same for every team and every player/goalkeeper. I do agree however that they should keep the same ball design and materials like they do in basketball, baseball and cricket. They dont need to ‘improve’ it year on year. I always find the simple ball designs work best. I think the new world cup ball is just different because of the panels it has.

  • Adidas Teamgeist was a brilliant ball. It was wobbly once it was kicked properly.
    The two goals referred to in the article weren’t unpredictable in terms of flight. Every keeper knows that volleys tend to dive. It’s like that with a Select Impala (rubbish ball btw) and it’s like that with every top ball from Nike to Puma to Adidas.

    Just for the fun of it, try giving C. Ronaldo a Tricolore ball from 98′ he can probably kick it like he normally does, perhaps not with as big of a knuckle as he normally does but he can still strike it in a very disturbing way!

  • While I love to see players hit shots that have no spin on them and move erratically, I don’t think that the ball should make that the case for every shot. The beauty of those shots is that the player every so often, in the run of play, connect perfectly in the center of the ball and produces a wonder goal. They become less special if every average joe who picks up the Jabulani can go out and hit perfect strikes every time. The other problem is that I’ve heard the ball becomes less unpredictable when it is pumped to the point where it feels as if it may pop from too much air. A ball should perform the same whether it has the perfect amount of air, or even slightly too much or too little. If the ball starts out with the right amount of air going into a World Cup match, but loses air during the course, no one would want to see that cause the ball to act like an egg and make the game quality go down because the ball doesn’t act like a ball should.

  • it seems that nike’s balls work as they should. maybe one day adidas will let go of their strangle on the world cup… then they could use aerows and ascentes.

  • After attending Turkiye v Czech Republic and Juve v NY Red Bulls games both using the MLS version of the Jabulani, I think it’s safe to say the balls did their part in producing pretty decent goals and entertaining matches… I’m not sure how altitudes and the air in south africa will react the balls but this is going to be a good world cup ball….. I CAN FEEL IT!

  • I think it’s very fair cause both of the teams get to take the full advantage of the features of the jabulani. It’s just up to the footballers to cope up with the ball’s unpredictable behavior. I guess that’s their job right?

  • I recently used this ball in a match and i’m the kind of player who likes to burn defenders them slot it in the bottom corner, but when I got off the shot I either hit it to the corner flag or hit a ridiculous upper 90 shot. This ball is a piece of crap way ahead of its time.

  • Have played with the Jabulani. Its great ball for short passes, put when you put power into it it gets too unpredictable. Adidas kind of say they want more goals. I want good goals, goals that’s put into the top corner. Not goals because of of a unnatural movements that fools the keeper. The Teamgaist is probably the best ball I’ve ever used, why don’t stick to it? I think Adidas balls are the only with a big unpredictability-problem, but they are also the best when it comes to touch…

  • i play with the ball and i have to say (as a striker) it is very exciting to play with it but really there has only been one instance where i have seen my shot move abnormally in the air. apart from that i find that i can get the same amount of dip that i do with other balls and the same amount and its the type of ball that can completely elude you if u loose focus. i think it will be beneficial for the world cup because it will separate the men from the boys, those who stay focus and those who loose focus. my only complain is that, if the ball is not pumped up well enough and it is light, it is very easy to launch it from anywhere but if it is too heavy then it is particularly very difficult to use. really once uve adjusted ull be fine

  • If only Juninho was selected to play for Brazil, imagine the ridiculous movement he could get with the ball. He could make it zig zag!! 😉

  • I’ve tried the ball in a 11v11 match and personally dont think its that bad, but yes, definitely not favourite ball of all time.

    But from a TV viewer perspective (and I am paying a lot in Singapore to watch it…), more goals, more unpredictability, more excitement!!!

    Bring on the Jabulani!!!

  • just being a collegiate player you play with many different brands and styles of balls ranging from the crappiest heaviest kinds to the lightest most unpredictable kind. the same debate was brought up during the 06 world cup and were put to be and that ball is now used in tournaments across the world including the champions league. the same thing will happen with this ball this is all just speculation.

  • i own the ball. the official match ball. and honestly i think it’s great. i dont think there is any problem with it. i think it’s the best ball out there.

  • Why didn’t FIFA use an African made ball in the World Cup? Top quality balls are made in Kenya and Zambia by a company called Alive and Kicking. This would have added to the economic legacy in Africa too – which is lacking from this tournament.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *