The football that made footballers too good

By | October 17, 2022

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The Jabulani, the official ball of South Africa World Cup 2010, swerved, dipped and, at times, appeared to have a mind of its own.

Ahead of major tournaments, the design of the ball is met with nearly as much anticipation as the kits, or the squad announcements. And in 2010, the Jabulani was no different.

But what was so special about it? What made it the “roundest ball ever made”? And why did the players struggle to adapt to it?

Seb Stafford-Bloor explains, Craig Silcock illustrates.

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[Music] It's a feature of every new football Season and each new competition before The action starts the new ball is Unveiled and generally without too much Fuss supporters will either love or hate The design and each new release is Accompanied by technological jargon but Rarely does the change of ball provoke a Change in the sport that wasn't the case Though in 2010 when Adidas released a Football that incited widespread outcry Accusations of unfair advantages and a Melodrama that threatened to overshadow A World Cup Foreign [Music] We're talking about the jabulani the Official ball of South Africa 2010 that Swerved dipped and at times appeared to Have a mind of its own It was also materially different to many Of its predecessors Most footballs used prior had consisted Of a 32-panel blend of hexagons and Pentagons at the 2006 World Cup Adidas Launched their team ghost ball built From 14 panels the javiolani evolved a Step further and used just eight in Addition to which in a change from the Team geist's perfectly smooth design the Ball for the 2010 World Cup also Incorporated what Adidas called grip and Groove ridges on its panels which it

Promised would provide not just more Friction between Boot and ball meaning More control but also consistency in the Ball's behavior in different weather Conditions The jabulani was a perfect sphere it Truly was as Adidas claimed the roundest Ball ever made but its characteristics Created tremendous difficulty You see when a football moves through The air it encounters resistance known As aerodynamic drag which reduces the Ball's speed think of it like an air Brake now importantly the amount of drag Is also determined by the properties of The object the airflow is acting upon And the property of the air that the Object is moving through Speed is also important and this was one Of the issues with the jabilani objects Moving through the air have a critical Transition speed below which the flow of Air around them is smooth or laminar and Above which the flow is more chaotic for A traditional 32 paneled football that Speed was relatively low around 35 miles Per hour unfortunately for the jabilani That point was much higher and according To Studies by NASA back in 2010 closer To 55 miles per hour And this was highly inconvenient because 55 miles an hour is a speed more Commensurate with the average shot or Cross in professional football of course

The physics are more complicated than We've described but the issue in plain Terms was that the jabilani was a very Aerodynamic and fast-moving football Which changed its behaviors in the air At precisely the wrong moment Rabbi meta A NASA aerospace engineer explained the Problem to the independence Callum rice Coats in 2020 when one measures the drag Force on a ball the force is relatively High at the lower speeds but at some Critical speed the drag drops suddenly This critical speed is determined by the Roughness on the ball so one of the Reasons why golf balls have dimples is Because of their effect in reducing drag Similarly traditional footballs achieve The same with their stitching and rough Textures which also influenced the flow Of air across them in Flight the Jebuloni then a perfect sphere but with Its grip and groove textures was really A thing of goalkeeping nightmares an Aerodynamic football but one which Experienced sudden drops in drag at very High speeds and the goalkeepers led the Backlash against it Spain's EK Casius Described it as rotten and as having Terrible characteristics gianluigi Buffon determined it to be unpredictable And Brazil's Julio Cesar damningly Claimed that he could find a better bull In a supermarket it was hard to judge How impactful the jabulani was at the

World Cup there were other aggravating Factors including some of the games that The World Cup being played in the low Density air of altitude and Adidas and FIFA were both defiant at the time Attributing the difficulties to the Typical early tournament adjustment Process most notably following Robert Greene's famous mistake against the United States there was a determination That the ball shouldn't be blamed we Believe it was down to a massive Goalkeeping mistake said in Adidas Spokesman a Green's error so there were Plenty of mistakes there were mistouches Over hit long passes and further Accusation that the the ball was too Bouncy but some of the highlights at That World Cup were extraordinary Diego Forlan Kazuki Honda and selimantari all Scored goals notable for unusual ball Movement and as the conversation around The ball intensified it became a Scapegoat for any and all mistakes Nevertheless it was hard to ignore Complaints of players who claimed that The design of the jabulani made it Harder to anticipate whatever spin was Applied to it or even how it was rolling Opta calculated that between the group Stages and the quarterfinals there were More misplaced passes in South Africa 2010 than in any of the four previous Tournaments Italy forward Jean Polo

Patsini revealed the difficulty in Crossing the ball with accuracy and Javi Hernandez arguably the finest number six Of his era would describe the jabulani As difficult to control So the ball's place in history is Interesting it's notorious and yet Because of football's nature and the Obfuscating effect of the junk science That surrounded the 2010 World Cup it's Impossible to determine which of that Tournament's strange movements were down To the ball and which were down to the Players whatever the case the jebulani Remains notorious and the controversy it Created has never been repeated if you Like this video please consider Subscribing to the channel [Music] You the best sports journalism in the World in a personalized experience Connecting you with the stories and Teams that you care about the most There's coverage of 13 Sports Plus Direct access to world-class journalists Through live q and A's discussions and Podcasts and you can try it now for free For 30 days by clicking the link in the Description [Music]