Teams were warned about the Jabulani ball, says Adidas
Adidas, the manufacturer of the World Cup football which has caused much controversy in South Africa, says it warned teams that it “takes some getting used to”.
“We presented the technology and underlined the requirement to get used to it because it is a different ball and a different technology,” said Adidas spokesman Thomas Schaikvan.
“There are players who play in leagues with other balls, there are players who have not played in the Africa Cup of Nations, and players from other federations who have not practised with the ball. ”
“These are the players who take the most amount of time to get used to it.”
England manager Fabio Capello has slammed the Jabulani ball, calling it the “worst he has seen” and has ensured his team begin each training session with long-range passing practice in order to adapt it.
“This is the worst ball that I have seen in my life,” said the England coach. “It is terrible for the goalkeepers because it is impossible to follow the trajectory.”
“It is difficult to control long passes -players miss 80% of them.”
Despite having distributed the balls to the various football federations back in February, sponsorship agreements -such as England’s with Umbro -have prevented most teams from using the Jabulani in the build-up to the tournament.
England have been training with the Jabulani for four weeks and only used it in one warm-up match against Japan.
Only Adidas-sponsored teams including Germany, Argentina and France used the ball extensively before the tournament.
Nike are the official ball supplier of the English, Italian and Spanish top flights, but Adidas maintain that the Jabulani was tested in the German Bundesliga as well as the Africa Cup of Nations in January.
Adidas have, however, admitted that the altitude at which many of the matches in South Africa are taking place may be partly to blame for its unpredictable nature.