Where’s Pele? ‘The King’ shunned at World Cup

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Read Time:2 Minute, 44 Second

SANTOS (AFP) – He’s ‘the king’, renowned as football’s greatest ever and the icon of Brazilian World Cup success. But with the tournament finally back in his home country, it seems somebody forgot to invite Pele.

At the opening ceremony in Sao Paulo, attended by President Dilma Rousseff and a clutch of visiting heads of state, Pele was a notable absentee despite living not far away in Santos.

For Brazil’s second game in Fortaleza, the three-time World Cup winner was not only not at the game — he was in his car, stuck in Brazil’s notorious traffic near Sao Paulo.

“It was the second time I heard a Brazil World Cup match on the radio… in 1950 and today,” he told Globo television later, referring to when Brazil first hosted the World Cup.

Brazil is not short of successful ex-players. But Pele, 73, was named an honorary ambassador in the build-up to the World Cup and has an unmatchable following abroad.

Last week, a museum celebrating his life was unveiled in port city Santos, where Pele played his club football. “O Rei” (the king) cried freely at its inauguration.

However, at the World Cup his appearances have mainly been restricted to TV advertisements for supermarkets, fast food and shampoo at half-time.

– Athlete of the century –

Rather than Pele, Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen is tipped as the personality most likely to hand over the trophy at the July 13 final in Rio de Janeiro.

It is a surprising demotion for a man named “athlete of the century” by France’s L’Equipe sports magazine and who is feted the world over. For some fans, it seems a little odd.

“I think it’s strange,” said Rodrigo Andrade, 27, a pastor from Sao Paulo who was visiting the newly opened Pele museum in Santos’s cobbled historic quarter.

“I think all the people who came from outside of Brazil for the World Cup want to see Pele.”

Pele was not available for comment, and his publicity team did not offer any explanations following requests from AFP.

Guilherme Guarche, historian at Santos FC’s Memorial das Conquistas, the club museum, suggested that Pele had fallen out with football’s world governing body FIFA.

“It depends on the conversation between Pele and FIFA. We don’t know what happened between them, why he didn’t show up. It’s FIFA business,” he said.

But journalist and historian Marcos Guterman said Pele’s image has steadily diminished in Brazil, which is in the midst of great social upheaval.

“People here don’t take him as seriously as foreigners,” said Guterman, author of “Football Explains Brazil – a History of the biggest popular expression of the country”.

“Pele is a symbol of a great era for Brazilian soccer but he’s part of the past.”

Guterman added: “There are many other soccer players that are more important than Pele, for example Socrates. His opinions were very important to us because he was politically engaged here in Brazil.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Spain early exit a lesson to all – Brazil’s Alves

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(AFP) – Brazil defender Dani Alves said Saturday Spain’s premature World Cup exit was a lesson for teams as to how difficult it is to achieve success at the highest level.

Crushing losses to Holland and Chile left Spain suffering one of the earliest ever exit by defending champions and Alves told reporters that as a Barcelona player he felt for Vicente del Bosque’s men.

“It’s a shame and I feel for my friends over there. But it is a lesson as to how very difficult the competition is. It may seem easy but a detail can knock you out,” Alves told reporters at Brazil’s Granja Comary base outside Rio.

Brazil saw their progress held up with a goalless draw in their second match against Mexico and will likely need to beat Cameroon on Monday to win their group.

Then they would play the runners-up from Group B — either Holland or Chile, who must face off Monday in Sao Paulo with both having won their opening two matches.

Alves said the Brazilians were conscious of the home fans’ high expectations as the Selecao chase a sixth crown.

But he insisted that despite the Mexico stalemate “we are evolving compared with the opening match,” a 3-1 come-from-behind success over Croatia.

“Sometimes results can confuse people,” added Alves, with Brazil having produced several good chances against the Mexicans, whose goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa denied them spectacularly throughout.

He reiterated that “the goal is to finish first in the group” as they prepare to take on already eliminated Cameroon in what will be the hosts’ 100th World Cup match of an illustrious tournament history to date.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Belgium vs Russia: Kompany eager to fulfil Maracana ‘dream’

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Read Time:3 Minute, 2 Second

(AFP) – Belgium captain Vincent Kompany hopes to shrug off a groin problem and fulfil “a childhood dream” by leading his team out to face Russia at the Maracana on Sunday.

Marc Wilmots’s side can secure a place in the last 16 if they overcome Fabio Capello’s Russia in the Group H encounter and Kompany is confident he will be fit enough to play at the fabled stadium for the first time.

“I’m doing very well,” the Manchester City centre-back told a pre-game press conference at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.

“I’ve followed an individual programme these last two days. Today I’m training with the team. If everything goes well, there won’t be any problems for tomorrow (Sunday).

“In the worst case, there are valuable players who can replace me. My personal situation is not the most important thing.

“Playing at the Maracana is an honour, a source of pride. With Wembley, it’s the most mythical stadium in the world. I’ve already achieved lots of my childhood dreams. This is another one.”

The 28-year-old added: “I think that all the players, Belgian and Russian, will share the same extraordinary feeling here. And I think it’s the case for the journalists as well.”

While the knockout phase already beckons for Belgium, some of their European rivals have not fared nearly as well, with Spain and England already out and Italy’s chances of qualifying in the balance.

Having played his football in England since 2008, when he joined City from German side Hamburg, Kompany said that he felt particularly sorry to see Roy Hodgson’s side exit the competition.

“I’m as sad as any other English supporter. I wasn’t expecting that,” he said.

“My wife is English. She thinks that our children are English. In reality, they’re Belgian!” he added, laughing.

“So it’s understandable that we’re sad in my family. I have lots of respect and admiration for England and that won’t change despite what happened here.”

– Defour in contention –

While Belgium came from behind to beat Algeria 2-1 in their opening game in Belo Horizonte, Russia could only muster a 1-1 draw against South Korea.

With Belgium therefore two points above their opponents ahead of Sunday’s fixture, coach Wilmots believes the onus will be on Russia to come out and attack.

“I saw that Russia sat back against South Korea, with a fairly static system,” he said.

“The important thing for us will be not to give them the space they’re expecting us to give them.

“You can’t write the script of a match before it starts, but you can influence its outcome.

“The advantage for us is that we don’t need to take the match in hand. It’s up to Russia to do it. But will they actually do it?”

Wilmots has hinted that he will field Porto’s Steven Defour alongside Axel Witsel and Marouane Fellaini in midfield against Russia, but he was anxious not to give anything away on the eve of the match.

“I said that I could do it. I didn’t say that I would,” he said.

“Everyone knows the qualities that this triangle has, but I have other possibilities.”

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Ronaldo welcomes Klose into World Cup top-scorers club

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(AFP) – Brazilian legend Ronaldo was quick to congratulate Miroslav Klose after the German equalled his record of 15 World Cup goals on Saturday.

The 36-year-old Klose — appearing in his fourth World Cup finals — slid in at the far post to equalise in the 71st minute.

The classic poacher’s strike earned Germany a 2-2 draw — and put Klose in the history books alongside Ronaldo.

Ronaldo, 37, was quick to offer his congratulations, having scored his 15th World Cup goal at Germany 2006 before retiring.

“Welcome to the club,” he wrote on his Twitter account in German and English.
Klose had sat out Germany’s 4-0 thumping of Portugal on Monday when Thomas Mueller claimed a hat-trick in his place, but the veteran came off the bench to spare Germany’s blushes.

“You really want to come in when the team is winning,” admitted Klose.

“If a team like Ghana gathers momentum, it is of course difficult.

“It was much warmer than the Portugal game, and it was very intense.

“It doesn’t matter whether I play from the start or come off the bench: all games are important and 15 goals in 20 World Cup games isn’t bad.”

Klose claimed a goal record even before flying to Brazil when he became Germany’s all-time top scorer and his goal against Ghana extended his tally to 70 goals in 133 internationals.

He bettered the previous record set by Gerd Mueller, who scored the winner in the 1974 World Cup final to claim his 68th goal in 62 appearances for West Germany.

Klose was the top-scorer at the 2006 World Cup in Germany with five goals, having finished second with another five at the 2002 tournament, while he scored four in South Africa four years ago.

His longevity — he has been a constant presence since making his debut in 2001 — is remarkable and saw him celebrate his 36th birthday the day the Germans arrived at their World Cup base.

“I’m incredibly pleased for him, that is another high point in his unparalleled career,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said Saturday after Klose’s latest milestone.

“It has not been an easy season for him, but he has done it again and got himself in top shape for a tournament.

“For a coach it is of course great to have options like him on the bench.”

Klose has said next year will be his last in the famous white shirt of Germany, but he could yet break Lothar Matthaeus’ record of 150 caps for his country.

He signed a contract extension in May with his Italian side Lazio until June 2015, with an extra year’s option, but expects next season to be his last.

“At the moment, I assume that 2015 will be the end, but it depends on my fitness and any injuries,” he told German daily Bild.

Klose flew to Brazil with question marks over his fitness after an injury-ravaged season restricted him to seven goals in 22 appearances for Lazio.

But the veteran hot-shot delivered the goods when they mattered for Germany, just as he has done so often in the past.

“When he’s fit, then he is terribly important for my team,” said Loew.

“His secret is his professionalism, his strength is his will.”

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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WORLDCUP 2014: We were robbed— Bosnia coach

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Read Time:1 Minute, 42 Second

Bosnia coach Safet Susic, who started with just Dzeko up front despite saying after the opening defeat to Argentina he would play with two strikers, said that his side had been robbed of a goal by New Zealand referee Peter O’Leary.

“I was told there was no offside but it’s not the first or last time a referee has made a bad decision at this World Cup and it won’t be the last,” said the 59-year-old.

“We lost to a good side, Nigeria played better than against Iran.”

Nigeria were, as Susic attested to, a completely different team to the one that had barely got out of a Sunday morning stroll in the draw with Iran.

Emmanuel Emenike always looked a threat and it was he who created the goal, as he burst down the right and engaged in a race for the ball with veteran Bosnian skipper Emir Spahic, who tried vainly to obstruct the Nigerian.

However, the central defender had completely misjudged the situation as Emineke went the opposite side and outpaced him to collect the ball before unselfishly squaring it to Peter Odemwingie, with the Stoke City striker tucking the ball away.

Bosnia had little to offer, though they could claim that they had been robbed of a goal as Edin Dzeko put the ball past Vincent Enyeama, but it was wrongly ruled out for offside.

Dzeko, though, could have stolen a point at the death when he rose to meet a corner but his downward header was straight at Enyeama, who gratefully smothered it.

The Manchester City striker went even closer in time added on as his shot from inside the area beat Enyeama but cannoned back off the post.

The referee whistled for fulltime shortly after that with the Bosnians collapsing to the ground in despair and the Nigerians jumping for joy as they — after the Ghanaians drew with Germany earlier on Saturday — restored pride to the African challenge at the finals.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Capello keeps faith with blunder goalkeeper

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(AFP) – Russia’s coach Fabio Capello insisted he would stick with goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev to play Belgium on Sunday despite his costly blunder against South Korea.

Capello called the 28-year-old one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

Akinfeev fumbled a shot by South Korea’s Lee Keun-Ho into his own goal in their Group H match on Tuesday. Russia had to fight back to scrape a draw and Capello now faces mounting criticism for the performance.

“I had decided after the mistake that Akinfeev would stay because he’s a great goalkeeper,” the Italian told a press conference.

“I never thought about changing him. He’s one of the best in the world.”

Capello said he expected a lot of pressure on Akinfeev from Belgium in Sunday’s game. He said Belgium have “surprised all of Europe.”

Capello also furiously slammed a journalist who said the Russian team had shown disrespect to their supporters after their 1-1 draw with South Korea.

“Liar,” shouted Capello at the press conference with Russian captain Vasily Berezutski.

The Russian journalist had challenged Berezutski, saying people were “very disappointed” that the players had not acknowledged their supporters.

“Don’t talk rubbish,” said Capello. “I was in the middle of the field. My players acknowledged the supporters. Everyone in Russia must know that you are lying. Tell the truth please.”

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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WORLDCUP 2014: Nigeria defeats Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0

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Read Time:2 Minute, 10 Second

Bosnia became the latest team to be eliminated from the World Cup when Stoke City forward Peter Odemwingie scored the winning goal in Cuiaba past club-mate Asmir Begovic.
But they will depart their first World Cup feeling aggrieved after Edin Dzeko had a goal wrongly chalked off for offside when the score was 0-0 and then Odemwingie’s struck in controversial circumstances after 29 minutes.
Emannuel Emenike sent Bosnia skipper Emir Spahic to the floor with a robust challenge before setting up Odemwingie to fire home from eight yards.
And in an agonising finale, Dzeko hit the post when a goal would have kept Bosnia's tournament hopes alive.
Bosnia knew there was no margin error after unluckily losing their opening game 2-1 to Argentina.

But they faced a rejuvenated Nigeria who offered a lot more than their turgid goalless draw with Iran would have suggested.
It was a bright start for Africa’s most populous nation. 21-year-old striker Ahmed Musa, who plays his club football in the Russian League with CSKA Moscow, was a whisker away from applying a finishing touch after the ball flashed dangerously across the Bosnia goal.
John Obi Mikel shot wide when well-placed – which wouldn’t surprise Chelsea fans – and Begovic was forced to tip away from Ogenyi Onazi as Bosnia were put under the cosh.
But Bosnia, who have only been members of Fifa for 18 years, were robbed of the first goal after 21 minutes when Dzeko timed his run to perfection to convert a clever through pass by Miralem Pjanic.
The City forward, with 10 goals in qualification, couldn’t believe it as he turned to celebrate and saw the linesman’s flag in the air for offside, when he’d been half-a-yard on.
Ironically, it was the only chance Dzeko put away. Four more times he had opportunities to score but was twice denied by Nigeria’s excellent goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama and twice missed the target.

Bosnia playmaker Miralem Pjanic tried to inspire his team-mates to draw level with a energetic performance in midfield.
But his low shot was saved by Enyeama late on while substitute Vedad Ibisevic, who scored against Argentina, failed to head in from a corner with Bosnia’s best chance of the second half.
Then, in injury-time, Dzeko agonisingly sent a header straight at Enyeama before sending another shot against the keeper and onto the post, leaving the Bosnia players to collapse in tears at the final whistle.
 

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nigeria 1 – 0 Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Read Time:4 Minute, 48 Second

FULL TIME: NIGERIA 1 BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA 0 Nigeria have their first World Cup win since 1994 and Bosnia are out of the World Cup. In truth they don't really deserve any more from tonight's game. It was an unspired performance and whatever chances they created were wasted by Edin Dzeko. At the back Emir Spahic looked like he was playing football for the first time and Emmanuel Emenike's dominance of the right flank led to the Nigerian goal.
90 + 2min: Dzeko hits the post!! It’s a great save from Enyeama. he brings down a high ball on the penalty spot, possibly with his hand. He spins and only has the keeper to beat but scuffs his shot and Enyeama saves with his legs. That sums up Dzeko's night.
90 min: Three minutes of stoppage time. Corner for Bosnia. Pjanic takes it, it comes back to him, he lofts another cross in and Dzeko meets it but it’s straight at Enyeama.
88 min: Free kick to Bosnia 35 yards out . A chance to loft it into the area which they may as well do because they haven’t really shown that they have any other ideas. It’s lofted in, headed clear by Yobo. Some unofficial head tennis follows before it nearly opens up for a shot from Pjanic. Instead it comes to Misimovic but his shot is poor and goes wide.
86 min: What have Bosnia got left in their locker/in the tank/up their sleeve [delete depending on which commentator you are listening to]? Not much by the looks of things. It’s Nigeria who are on the attack and Emenike wins a free kick on the corner of the area.
84 min: Great challenge from Muhamed Besic as Onazi looks to get in on the right.
83 min: Emenike is down injured. Or wasting time as it's also known.
82 min: Another chance for Nigeria – this time it’s Emenike who shoots from distance but it’s always swerving wide and Begovic has it covered anyway.
80 min: Begovic is a called into action again to beat away a long range effort from Ogenyi Onazi. Bosnia look to counter through Pjanic, an attack that’s cynically brought to a halt by Mikel who picks up a yellow card.
75 min: Bosnia are pushing now but their ideas are more Gareth Keenan than David Brent. Muhamed Besic cuts in from the left but doesn’t really catch his shot properly and Enyeama saves easily.
74 min: Ejike Uzoenyi is on for Babatunde.
72 min: Michael Babatunde is finally going to have to come off. He's already left the field but nobody is on in his place yet. Bosbia have a corner on the left, It's swung in to the edge if the six-yard box and Ibisevic has a free header but it comes off his shoulder and goes over the bar. Huge chance for Bosnia.
70 min: Casual defending from Yobo who nonchalantly nods back to his goalkeeper after Dzeko fails to connect with a cross. Fortunately for the former Everton man Enyeama is able to gather.
68 min: Babatunde is down injured and is rolled off the pitch. It's a Bosnia free kick but the delivery is really poor and it sails over everyone and out for a goal kick.

"What Nigeria need (and I'm not joking) is Shola," Says Sally. "He will hold up the ball. Calm things a little. Obviously I don't really want to see calm. But it would help Nigeria."
Well you've got it Sally. Shola 'calmness personified' Ameobi is on.
64 min: Ameobi straight into the action playing it to Emenike on the right> he shoots from a tight angle and Begovic is forced to scoop it behind. Well he’s not quite forced – nobody made him – but it would have gone in if he didn’t.
64 min: Nigeria change: Shola Ameobi on for Musa.
63 min: Safet Susic makes his final change bringing on his nephew Tino Sven Susic in place of Haris Medunjanin.
62 min: Lovely approach work from Pjanic but Dzeko can’t collect. He’s having one of those days. One of those days when he’s rubbish.
60 min: Two saves in a minute from Begovic keeps Bosnia's World Cup alive. First Babatunde fires from distance and Begovic beats it away. Then the ball richotes off Odemwingie into Emenike's path. The angle is tight but Begovic stays big and makes a vital block.
58 min: Titus Bramble would be ashamed of this performance by Emir Spahic. In fairness he may well be fouled this time by Emenike but his challenge is so weak he almost deserves it.
57 min: Another Bosnian change: Sejad Salihovic comes on for Senad Lulic.
56 min: Change for Bosnia: Vedad Ibisevic replaces Izet Hajrovic.
56 min: More good work from Emmanuel Emenike to tee-up Odemwingie whose shot is poor. Onazi's effort with the outside of his right seconds later is even worse.
54 min: Michael Babatunde crashes in a shot with his left foot from the edge of the area which Begovic beats away.
53 min: It’s not really coming off for Bosnia – first Dzeko and Hajrovic get in each other’s way when trying to get on the end of a cut back, then Musa makes a brilliant last ditch tackle to block Mujdza’s cross from the right.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Onigbinde flays Keshi’s outburst over Odemwingie’s performance

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Read Time:1 Minute, 2 Second

Lagos – A former Super Eagles Head Coach, Adegboye Onigbinde, on Thursday expressed dissatisfaction with Coach Stephen Keshi’s outburst over Osaze Odemwingie’s performance in the Nigeria-Iran match.

Onigbinde  in Lagos said that the castigation was uncalled for.

“The professional ethics are there but don’t forget that the individuality in everybody is also always there, and then it depends on one’s background.

“I have never enjoyed picking quarrels with my players. Football is a team game, and the coach must be very good in the management of human beings.

“Like your team loses the match and then you come out to say that it is because the player did not play to instruction.

“You are exposing yourself by telling the whole world that you are not capable of controlling your players.

“So, instead of ridiculing the players you are ridiculing yourself.

NAN reports that Keshi in a press briefing had pointedly blamed Odemwingie for not adhering to his instructions in the match against the Melli of Iran that ended in a goalless draw.

The Super Eagles will lock horns with Bosnia-Herzegovina in a must win match on June 21 at Cuiaba.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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World Cup as Brand Building Vehicle

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Read Time:6 Minute, 13 Second

 Beyond growing sales, many brands, especially those with a global presence, are leveraging on the ongoing World Cup to sell their brands, writes Raheem Akingbolu

Within and outside Brazil, where the ongoing World Cup 2014 is taking place, the samba beats are getting louder as brands across the world are tying their aprons to the global sporting event to extend their frontiers.

In Nigeria, brands like Verve, a leading payment card brand, Star, from the stable of Nigerian Breweries, Coca Cola and Airtel are riding on it to reward patrons of their products.

As the world set for the tournament last week, Verve announced the 19 lucky winners of its recently concluded Breeze to Brazil promo. Few hours after the unveiling, the company organised a befitting sent-forth party for the beneficiaries-forth party before they went to the world biggest sport fiesta.

In the same way, about 11 winners, who emerged in a similar promotions organized by Nigerian Breweries to reward consumers of Star were also sent forth at the company’s Orile Iganmu head office amid pomp.

At the Verve head office in Lagos, where the promoters of the payment card brand and their partners bid the beneficiaries farewell, the company’s CEO, Charles Ifedi, said Verve Breeze to Brazil was an invaluable platform with which the company reached out to its consumers.

Commenting on the success of the promotion, which lasted three months, in partnership with 13 commercial banks and 2 micro-finance banks, Ifedi said the response was impressive, adding that the international company was delighted that it was able to offer this once in a life time opportunity to the 19 lucky winners.

According to him, the lucky 19 will be treated to an all expense paid 7 day trip and would watch two matches at the tournament, including the opening game for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

Global presence
As the campaign noise from brands builds every day at the tournament, reports from Brazil indicated that it is not only the official sponsors that are topping the engagement polls as many supporting brands are struggling hard to lend their voices.

According to a report, few days before the first match, many brands launched campaigns – both digital and traditional to create awareness. Some of the brands, such as Nike and Adidas that have over the years possess an inherent connection to the event, ran imposing campaigns and adverts by employing their connection to the sport and its stars.

To observers, Adidas, the official sponsor of FIFA, has every reason to target the World Cup; Nike, which is hoping to make Brazil its third largest market behind the US and China, is also believed to have millions of reasons of its own.

But while the big soccer brands are almost obligated to launch big campaigns in the host country, some brands less directly affiliated with the sport are instead using the event as an opportunity to establish brand recognition in many countries, with establishment of big viewing audience to carve out a foothold in their respective countries by leveraging the event.

On Monday, Lafarge WAPCO, a cement manufacturing company in Nigeria that has little or no history of association with Sports sponsorship created a platform for football fans in Lagos to watch the various matches slated for the day through a big screen.

Marketing realities
The subtle war between Adidas and Nike at the event could be a good lesson for brand managers, who are keen at recognising marketing opportunities.

Adidas has been an official FIFA World Cup partner since 1970, leveraging its investment to sell millions of official World Cup footballs and merchandise, driving revenue in the never ending battle of claim and counter claim around who is number one in football.

However, such sponsorship investment limits the amount the brand can subsequently invest in consumer engagement beyond activating their sponsorship rights, leaving the door open to their great rival.

Nike is believed to have taken the view that global tournaments provide the ultimate showcase of their football positioning, investing vast sums behind communications production, media buys and consumer experiences that drive engagement.

By gaining a disproportionate share of voice around the tournament, consumers perceive Nike, not Adidas, as the official partner. The 'Nike approach' is starting to feel one-dimensional and complacent with recent efforts viewed as lacklustre by critics.

Despite that, at the time of writing, this year's "Risk Everything" campaign has been viewed over 50m times on YouTube, admittedly backed by a huge online media buy.

Image tied to that of rights-holders
Sponsorship can be both showcase and straitjacket. An opportunity to be seen by millions but it is how you're seen that can be the problem. Non-sponsors have creative freedom, unconstrained by endless regulations and laborious approval processes that often result in creative being reduced to a shadow of its former self.

As this reporter found out in South Africa in 2010, FIFA initiated legal action against Dutch brewer Bavaria, which employed 36 women to attend a Netherlands game in orange clothing – clothing with such discreet branding that no one bars those in the immediate seats could possibly see.

Yet FIFA ejected the women from the stadium and pursued a high profile case against Bavaria that resulted in the beer brand achieving more social mentions than all of the official sponsors combined – and almost six times more than official beer partner, Anheuser Busch.

If there is any lesson from all these, it is that sponsors have to not only manage their image at the event, but also their association with rights holder. The latter's behaviour can easily rub off on the affiliated brand, often to its detriment.

In a related development, report from London 2012, indicated that the LOCOG "brand police" made headlines for their heavy-handed insistence that small, independent businesses joining in the celebrations remove references to the Olympic rings from their displays to protect global sponsorship deals, effortlessly labeling sponsor brands as killjoys at the same time.

Tourism spend
The Brazilian Institute of Tourism had forecast shortly before the tournament began that visitors to the event would spend over $11bn (£6.6bn) in the country: more than 20 times the earnings of South Africa during the last World Cup.

The cost of media buying is set to soar too, with Brazil’s Globo TV network due to make $600m from regular ad slots booked by sponsors during its World Cup coverage.

FIFA, meanwhile, predicted that it would collect around $4bn for its own coffers from Brazil 2014, with the majority coming from TV rights and around a third from sponsorship and marketing. This would be an increase on the 2010 World Cup, when it raised $3.7bn in total and $1.1bn from sponsorship.

Many sponsors apparently feel they are getting value for money. In January, Visa became the fifth FIFA sponsor to extend its deal and commit to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, joinin Adidas, Coca-Cola and Hyundai-Kia.

Despite the huge sums involved in World Cup sponsorships – FIFA raised more than $1bn from global brands in 2010 – questions remain about how best to derive maximum marketing value from the tournament. The World Cup is four-week frenzy when brands fight for consumers’ attention, so achieving cut-through during the event is a difficult task for all marketers.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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