11 PLAYERS Ottawa's Elite Football Magazine -ISSUE 1-

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CONTENT 6 Nepean Soccer Club 40th Football At It’s Best! 12 Competitive But Not Varsety Ottawa Gee Gees Mens Soccer. 14 2010 Ottawa World Cup Valery Sinaba On Ottawa World Cup. 18 Importance of Cross Training Mike Kelly, Personal Trainer. 20 Work Less - Play More Kyle Washington on Soccer Philosophy.



26 The Rise of Real Madrid Jose Mourinho is The New Boss. 28 Where To Now Kaka Real Madrid in Doubt of Kaka. 30 AC Milan Without Pirlo Does Pirlo Still Have It. 34 Little & Loud Football in The Third World. 40 Alive & Kicking Made in Africa, for Africa by Africa. 44 HADY WEHBE 2010 Ottawa World Cup MVP.


48 PAUL KIHARA The Ultimate #7 - Is Looking To Score.

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Jose Mourinho







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a letter from the editor Welcome to the first issue of 11 Players Magazine! We are proud to showcase what we hope will become a staple not only in the Ottawa community but throughout Canada. The emphasis in this issue is on local talent. We have articles ranging from the Ottawa Gee-Gees to Washington Total Soccer founder Kyle Washington to local player Paul Kihara. We watched and cheered at the Ottawa World Cup and talked to tournament MVP Hady Wehbe. Nepean Soccer Club celebrated their big 4-0 and shared their emotions with us. After examining our own city's version of the beautiful game, we cast our gaze across the world. We examined soccer in developing countries as well as the growth of the game in Africa. Inevitably, we examined European soccer and the impact that it has on a consistent basis across the world. We hope that you continue to read us and will do so for years. From us to you, thank you. Joseph A. & The 11 PLAYERS TEAM

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EDITORIAL. email. info@11players.ca url. www.11players.ca Editor-in-Chief: Joseph A.

ADVERTISING. email. ads@11players.ca url. www.11players.ca

Writers: Frank Tigani Mike Kelly Xavi Jimenez Peter Stutter Nick Wells Kyle Washington Siniša Šindik Robbie Barkell Photographers: Numan Qardash James Park Stephano Guindani [SPG ITALIA]

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Nepean Hotspurs Soccer Club 40th Anniversary WORDS BY: PETER STUDER

In 2010, the Nepean Hotspurs Soccer Club celebrated its 40 years of community service. It’s a remarkable achievement resulting from the efforts of countless volunteers to provide the structure in which thousands of players at all ages and skill levels, wearing our distinctive red and white strip, were able to enjoy playing the beautiful game. Our club crest speaks to our heritage, and points the way to our future. Its elements - a knight’s helmet and knight’s spur, a soccer ball, a maple leaf, our name and a date - 1970. The knight’s helmet and spur remind us of Sir Henry Percy, also called Harry Hotspur, who was born in 1364. Knighted at the age of 11, immortalized by Shakespeare as a legendary warrior and hero, Henry Percy, earned his nickname “Hotspur” through his bravery in battle and his desire to lead – as was said almost 700 years ago, he had a “hotspur” for the fight. We proudly share this name with Tottenham Hotspur, or ‘Spurs, of the English Premiership, whose famed White Hart Lane Stadium stands on land once owned by the Percy family.

Nepean Hotspurs Coach. -Nikola Brkljaca 6 | 11 Players | www.11players.ca

“ The Nepean Hotspurs soccer club was honored to be one of the 8 clubs in Ontario to have met the high technical standards established by Toronto FC. ” In recent years, under the technical leadership of club head coach Boris Bajagic (CSA National ‘A’ License), the Hotspurs have worked to develop a culture of coaching excellence in order to enhance the development of all of our members. An ongoing collaboration between the Eastern Ontario District Soccer Association and the Hotspurs has seen a coaching development conference delivered each spring featuring the leading technical coaches from the Canadian Soccer Association. This years event saw coaches from across Eastern Ontario learning from Stephen Hart, Head Coach of the Men’s National Team; Ray Clark, Director of Coaching and Player Development; Dave Benning, Manager of Technical Programs; and Tony Fonseca, National Staff Coach and Head Coach of the U-20 Men’s National Team. As a highlight of our 40th A significant development in the future development of the Nepean Hotspurs occurred on Friday, May 14th, 2010, when Toronto FC announced the creation of its Club Academy Program (CAP) – a technical partnership with progressive youth clubs in Ontario that meet Toronto FC’s standards for elite player development. The Nepean Hotspurs Soccer Club was honoured to be one of the 8 clubs in Ontario to have met the high technical standards established by Toronto FC, in selecting their CAP partners. Hotspurs President David Holder commented that “Some time ago, the Hotspurs formulated a model for coach and player development. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t flashy and we took a long term view. As a result, we are extremely gratified that our approach caught the attention of Toronto FC.”

their careers. Many of our alumni have gone on to outstanding careers at colleges and universities across North America. While we take pride in their achievements, we take greater pride in introducing the “beautiful game” to thousands of players over the past 40 years, and we look forward to delivering quality programs to players of all ages and skill levels for the next 40 years. Our 40th anniversary season will see over 61 Hotspurs teams in action in the Ontario Youth Soccer League (GU16 Lightning), the East Region Soccer League (18 teams), the EODSA L5 League (18 teams), the South Side Soccer League (9 teams), and the Ottawa Carleton Soccer League (15 teams). In addition, hundreds of children will participate in our “Let the Kids Play” Development Program, sponsored by Popsicle, summer camp activities and the Hotspurs Indoor Development Program (HIDP) during the winter months. Anniversary celebrations will include our first Charity Golf Tournament and the 16th Annual Nepean Hotspurs Friendship Tournament which will be held on June 12th and 13th. For more information on the Hotspurs, and our 40th anniversary celebrations, please consult our web site at www.hotpsurs.on.ca

The last forty years have brought great success to the Hotspurs, and we have been privileged to have Charmaine Hooper, Lyndon Hooper and Kristina Kiss wear our colours during www.11players.ca | 11 Players | 7

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Words by: Siniša Šindik

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When you think about a university that counts more than 35, 000 students you are entitled to believe that it has a varsity team for every “big“ sport, like football, hockey and soccer. Well, for the University of Ottawa it’s not the case. The biggest bilingual university of the national capital region does have a varsity team for football, hockey, and women’s soccer but unfortunately not for men’s soccer. Indeed, the male students that are coming to the University of Ottawa have to play for a team that is registered as a “club”.

those reasons, University of Ottawa only has a men’s competitive soccer club.

“the club team is independent but supported by the university.”

The men’s competitive club has two “seasons” during a school year. First of all, the fall one is only constituted of friendly games against other universities from Ontario and Quebec. Those games have to be scheduled by the leading member of the team, which When Didier Hutchison arrived at the U of O in 2000, there was was Didier Hutchinson at the time, and which is Marc-André Paulin no soccer team available for him. There have been many attempts now. Thus, the fall season is not really competitive because the over the years to bring a varsity team, or at least any kind of team, team can’t have any recognition through friendly games. However, to the University, but the students in charge didn’t succeed. Then, the winter period is really more interesting for the club because it in 2002, Hutchinson decided to get involved. He went to student takes part in the Carleton soccer league and has 3 or 4 tournaments federation (SFUO) to get some help from the school. After some during that time. That way the players can really enjoy a lot more time was finally created the Gee-Gees men’s soccer competitive competition. Also, every year the club has its own banquet which club, which is really different from a varsity team. rewards the best players of the year. The University of Ottawa have two types of sports teams: Varsities and Clubs. A varsity team is completely financed and managed by the University while a club team is independent but supported by the University ($1,500 per year, the rest of the cost is at the expense of the students). The U of O has a clear politic for varsity teams. First, there must be an equal number of male and female athletes. Secondly the University have to check for the field’s availability

As a matter of fact, the Ottawa University may not have a varsity team as Carleton University, but at least students may still enjoy playing soccer all year round. On the other hand, the U of O should reconsider the status of the men’s soccer club and maybe give them the varsity title. That would increase the visibility of the players, and surely help the University to recruit some new students that would originally have chosen Carleton instead.

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Huffman Eja

Offensive Midfielder

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Contact Mike Kelly: mkellypts@sympatico.ca | Phone: (613) 830-1300 | www3.sympatico.ca/vipmk 18 | 11 Players | www.11players.ca



Well, it’s November and winter snowfalls are not far off from covering the soccer pitch. As a coach, it’s an opportune time to reflect on the positives and negatives of the past season. What you might discover, is that some of the team was lacking in energy and/or, incurred far too many injuries. The good news is that the winter time provides a great opportunity to work on fitness deficiencies. Soccer is one of the most physically demanding sports and has been categorized as a high intensity, intermittent team sport. It is also a sport using linear and nonlinear running, with players having to go through various planes of movement during a game, often changing suddenly. If not to make the game more challenging, throw in some vertical leaps (and the occasional rough landing) – good thing Soccer is officially, “a non-contact sport”. During a competitive youth soccer game, depending on the position, a player can be expected to run/walk well over 5 kilometers (with mid fielders typically going farther). As the majority of a soccer game is run at sub-maximal, aerobic cardio intensities (much to the chagrin of all coaches), it’s extremely important that players develop a solid aerobic base. It has been shown (K McMillan, J Helgerud, R Macdonald, J Hoff 2005), that even a small improvement in a players aerobic conditioning can result in more efficient running on the field. Extending a players energy base is paramount, as once fatigue kicks in, coordination starts to drop, i.e., fatigue can mean the difference between an accurate kick on goal, or putting it 10’ too high. A great metric for determining a player’s aerobic conditioning is their VO2max (maximal oxygen uptake). Once determining that metric as part of a “base lining” process, an off season training program can be implemented to improve upon VO2max levels. In addition to the cardio element, soccer players also require both explosive and endurance based muscle activity during a game. So, what’s a relatively easy way to improve both cardio and muscular levels? Cross Training! Why cross training, as opposed to just running laps? Well, over time if the same stimulus is applied day in and day out to an individual’s fitness level, sooner or later their body will adapt to the static stimulus and begin to plateau. If you want to try this fitness phenomena out for yourself, do a simple bicep curl exercise with a weight that makes it challenging to complete a proper set. Within a month or so of repeating the same exercise, that same weight will become easier to lift. Unfortunately, if the same weight stimulus continues, in the same technique, you’ll find your bicep strength will plateau and could even get weaker. Using the previous analogy exemplifies the importance of cross training, whereby the athlete is continually being challenged by different exercises and techniques - as a coach, there is a myriad of options for improving players overall fitness level, simply implementing a relevant cross training program can be a great start. Cross Training can be made as simple or sophisticated as you like, including the use of a “periodization” program (a systematic approach to improving one’s fitness level). To get an extra bang for your buck, incorporate some Speed, Agility and Quickness (SAQ) drills and if time permits, a properly done plyometric program will nicely cap off the training. NOTE: Be careful with implementing too demanding of a plyometric program, as youth player’s bones structures are generally still growing and overly demanding impact forces can cause negative effects (try jump rope, which when done properly, is a great form of basic plyometric, works the cardio element and is inexpensive) Finally, with the reality of cost and time, get your players at a minimum, to try out another sport, ideally one with similar movements to that of soccer, e.g., basketball. Certainly, it’s also paramount that players continue to work with the ball throughout the off season, as this is what they’ll be doing on the field, but cross training with other sports and/or exercise programs, can make for great improvements in fitness. www.11players.ca | 11 Players | 19

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WORK LESS PLAY MORE a few words from

Kyle Washington

owner - WashingtonTotalSoccer.com

I was coaching a session last night for a group of 7-9 year old boys and girls and judging by their enthusiasm for what I thought was a standard training exercise I couldn’t help but to feel that these children were totally deprived of opportunities to experience soccer the way they know and love it: fast and fun. I’ve coached young children for long enough to know that they are far better at simplifying the game of soccer than we are as adults. They are able to produce moments of glory on a whim and forget the impressiveness of their feat a few minutes later. They are all about their “NEXT” great play when they are truly having fun. While at play, children never appear to be completely satisfied with the amount of fun that they are having. What gets in the way of their fun? We do. More often than not, we adults impose our rules and order upon their innocence. In doing so, the fun and spontaneity of their activities is lost, and with it is their autonomy and creativity. Were it not for societal demands forcing children, teenagers, and adults to mature and accept more responsibilities we would be happier people. Would we work less and play more.? What a glorious concept! WORK LESS PLAY MORE. “Elite 9 year olds who were selected for competitive teams at age 16 engaged in two-times as many hours of soccer PLAY (versus practice and structured competition) between the ages 6 and 12 than other elite 9 year olds who were not selected for the same team at age 16.”

*Ford et al., (2009) high Ability Studies, Vol. 20 Issue 1

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WORK. Work to adults is how we overcome our challenges in life. When spend enough time working at something we eventually start to see results. To many adults, the idea of themselves “playing” is seen as meaningless in the grand scheme of life. How can you “play” when you have stress in your life to deal with. Why “play” when there’s no cash prize. Why “play” and risk public embarrassment? Some of the most successful people have gotten to where they are because at some point, they spent more time working at a particular skill/plan/performance than the general population. Stay with me here.... What if the most important determinant of our success isn’t the actual skills being taught, or the person teaching them, but is instead the number of times that an individual is allowed to perform a task, fail, re-evaluate, re-perform the task, fail, re-evaluate, re-perform and so on. In theory, we are set apart from animals because we are able to make mistakes that go against our intuition. In nature, animals are hard-wired to act definitively in certain situations and when they make mistakes they are often met with serious consequence. A bird tries to build a nest somewhere other than high-up in the air, and it’s eggs get eaten. A mouse waits around to see what the rustling noise is behind him. Eaten.

‘FAIL, RE-EVALUATE, RE-PERFORM THE TASK, FAIL, RE-EVALUATE, REPERFORM THE TASK, AND SO ON.’ There is evidence that PLAY is an integral part of how children develop/improve game-intelligence, anticipation, decision-making, and creative tactical responses. We humans...we don’t get eaten when we make mistakes. Yes, the worst of our mistakes run the real risk of putting us in some form of danger but, for the most part, even though we make dozens of mistakes per day we still manage to manage to gather food and find shelter. We can fall back to the support and comfort of family, friends. When the worst happens we’re still able to rely on religion and government. Being able to make a mistake and not end up being eaten/injured increases the likelihood that we will be prepared for a similar situation in the future. We simply adapt our initial plans to compensate for our previous errors in judgment. If you’re a coach, and you are allowing your players a high number of opportunities to make harmless mistakes then I would like to congratulate you. You are teaching them how to take initiative for their own learning and how to trust their own intuition, instead of teaching them self-doubt and indecision. 22 | 11 Players | www.11players.ca

BACK TO PLAY NOW. Let’s take an excerpt from a lines above when I was writing about the role that WORK plays in our lives as adults. The difference in this particular excerpt will be that “WORK” will be substituted by the word “PLAY” and “ADULT” to “CHILD”. “Play, to children is how they overcome challenges in their lives. If they spend enough time playing something they will eventually start to see results. To many children “work” is seen as boring/no fun in the grand scheme of life. The most successful performers in the world have gotten to where they are because at some point, they spent more time playing a particular game/sport/instrumentthan the *Ford et al., (2009) high Ability Studies, Vol. 20 Issue 1 general population. “ I admit that it’s a bit of a stretch to propose that children are all opposed to “working” and all for “playing”. I also concede that if children don’t work at their skills and practice their skills then they will not likely improve the quality of their performances. What I will never let go of is my complete and total belief that children learn faster, and retain more of their skills when they are rehearsed in novel, fun situations than they would retain the skills rehearsed in static, monotonous, highly-structured situations. Practice doesn’t have to be boring! Be honest with yourself. You’re an adult, you can tell when a child is having fun and when that child is not having fun. PLAY, when in isolation of structured participation, has a positive impact on perceived enjoyment and willingness to continue participation in related sports/activities in the future. EXCUSE ME!!! HELLO!!-----Believe it or not, kids LOVE TO LEARN! They’ll show off their new skills, moves, and tricks anytime they have an audience, but they also love to do things that are fun/entertaining/stimulating. We adults/coaches need to stop rushing them out of their childhood. They’ll soon get hit by a flash of hormones once puberty moves in and they’ll start to make conscious decisions towards maturing. Can we as adults find a way to give this to them? We’ve put people on the moon and designed computers that are smarter than we are. Can we not just listen to the obvious messages they are giving us every day?

CRITICAL THINKING. I would like to be clear in stating that what I’ve written is in NO WAY meant to be an affront upon an individual or organization. Nor is it meant to be a gospel, but I will offer research-based support for what I’ve been discussing. In High Ability Studies journal, a 2009 longitudinal study of elite and recreational 6-12 year old soccer players by Ward et al. published a few interesting findings when those players turned 16 years old: • Elite 9 year olds who were selected for professional teams/academies at age 16 engaged in TWO-TIMES as many hours of soccer PLAY (versus practice and structured competition) between the ages 6 and 12 than the other elite 9 year olds who were not selected at age 16. • The amount of hours spent engaging in low-structured, child-governed PLAY between the ages of 6 and 12 is indeed an important indicator of future expert performance. • PLAY, when in isolation of structured participation, has a positive impact on perceived enjoyment and willingness to continue participation in related sports/activities in the future. Is it detrimental for a child to memorize the words of a book before they are capable reading the words? I’m not a parent, but I can see how it might be slightly frightening to some parents/coaches that a child can learn to do something without understanding how/why they were able to perform. Please remember that we all learn our alphabet to the tune of the A-B-C song yet we still can tell you correct alphabet letter order without reciting the song each time. We all walk differently, talk differently, and think differently so why shouldn’t children be allowed to develop their own unique love of the game? If we as adults know so much more than children then why can’t we, as a society (not individuals, because there are many of us walking www.11players.ca | 11 Players | 23

If we as adults know so much more than children then why can’t we, as a society (not individuals, because there are many of us walking the walk), plan their lessons/practices/programs to appeal more to their innate desires and interests. The true art of coaching/teaching a child lies in the ability of the authoritative figure to structure the learning experiences of the child in such a way to allow the child autonomy to act upon their own intuition/initiative. Please respect that each child will learn at his/ her own rate and have some faith that they’ll eventually get there because I’m certain that when he/she does eventually get there on his/her own accord, the pride in his/her eyes will be one of the most rewarding feelings you will ever feel as a coach or parent. We as adults forget that it’s human nature to grow tired of something that isn’t stimulating. If a child doesn’t want to listen to the coach, it isn’t always the child’s fault but sometimes it might actually be the coach’s ability to gather information from a series of cues that each child/group of children may be projecting. The dependent variable is the coach. A team without a coach may still win the game, a coach without a team/players doesn’t have a chance. If we weren’t there to coach, would they still play? If so, let me pose the question on last time...”Who’s really in charge?” See you on the field! Kyle Washington.

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JAN 24-28, 2011 Congratulations to. www.Montrealimpact.com

Hassoun Camara. Idriss Chergui. Denis Stinat. Kevin Hatchi. Igor Djoman.

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For a number of years it has been Barcelona that have dominated Spanish football. The Blaugrana have arguably enjoyed their best ever decade as they have achieved success unparalleled in their history, especially on the European stage. Indeed, Barcelona have possibly been the greatest team of the decade and definitely one of the best club teams in history.

The wily Portuguese tactician has a habit of transforming teams into champions. He did it at Porto back in 2004, where he led them to an unprecedented Champions League triumph in addition to the domestic league and cup titles.

difficult environment of Italian football, Mourinho built with world class stars t an Inter side that not only continued its winning ways in or on the way there. Italy, but that also broke its European curse by becoming Champions last May. Cristiano Ronaldo defi As does the likes of X As they say, the more things change, the more they stay Calvarho, Iker Casillas the same. This is true following Jose Mourinho’s move to the Spanish capital. Just months after arriving in Madrid, Then there are the lik already Los Blancos look like potential champions. Their Gonzalo Higuain, M position at the top of La Liga is testament to this along Benzema and Sergio with their domination over Milan in the two recent ties possess frightening p played against the Italians. Mourinho many of the fulfilling such potenti It may be a different club, in a different country, with a Khedira have improv different style of football. But, this seems to be of little become crucial eleme consequence for Mourinho. His record across various countries is without equal and quite rightly he can claim Together, it is a group o to be the ‘Special One’. and great potential. As slowly growing into a Mourinho’s los Blancos have steadily been improving and in recent weeks the team have started to form an Of course, it is still ear identity. But, rather frighteningly for Real’s rivals in Spain to guide his stars to si and Europe is the real possibility that there is still room for seen. If glory evades R improvement. season that they succe a question of time and Under the tutelage of the Portuguese tactician, importantly Cristiano Ronaldo is rediscovering the kind What is sure this seas of form he exhibit during his record breaking season for contenders again, bo Manchester United where he scored a disbelieving 42 in in Europe where the c all competitions. Round of 16 since win

Then, at Chelsea, it was much of the same. He led the Blues to back to back Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006, helping transform the London based club into one of the powers of modern day English football.

The new number 7 at the Bernabeu will be crucial to Real’s bid for success this season. If the former United star can continue in the same vein as he has done in recent weeks then it will push Real that much closer to success.

Following his rather turbulent exit from Stamford Bridge, Mourinho was snapped up by Inter. In the intense and

But it is not just the form of Cristano Ronaldo that Real’s success will hinge upon. All over the park Real are blessed

This season, Barcelona are still an extremely formidable outfit. They certainly will be contenders for major honours come the end of the season, both in the Champions League and La Liga. However, this season Real Madrid – under the guidance of the masterful Jose Mourinho - are on the rise again. In their last four La Liga games, Los Blancos have bagged an incredible 19 goals collecting maximum points along the way. It has not just been the results that have impressed, but their performances have also been raised eyebrows. Mourinho’s Real are starting to get that champion look about them that is inevitable for a team whenever it is the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ leading them.

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But this season may next year, it will not be Real side that are crow Portuguese so desires


that are either in peak of their powers

finitely belongs to the former group. Xabi Alonso, Sergio Ramos, Ricardo s and Pepe.

kes of Angel Di Maria, Pedro Leon, Mezut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Karim o Canales. This group of players potential. Under the guidance of ese players may go a long way to ial. Already, Mezut Ozil and Sami ved greatly this season and have ents to Mourinho’s side.

of players that possess great quality s a team they are young but they are strong outfit.

rly days. Whether Mourinho is able ilverware this season remains to be Real this season, then it may be next eed. Under Mourinho, it is surely just d hopefully he is given enough time.

son is that Real Madrid are serious oth in Spain but more importantly club have failed to make it past the nning the title in 2002.

y be different and come Wembley e surprising if it is Mourinho and his wned Kings of Europe in the land the s to return one day.

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‘KAKA IS CLEARLY NOT THE SAME PLAYERS HE ONCE WAS.’ There has been much recent speculation that Kaka may be set for a return to the city of Milan. Whether he will return to play for his previous side, A.C. Milan, or their fiercest rivals, Inter, is quite unclear. Indeed, the former world number one may not return to Italy at all. What is clear, however, is that the current Real Madrid boss, Jose Mourinho, is not too keen in keeping his Brazilian ace. Before speculation started to abound about a possible shock return to Italy, it was said that Mourinho was planning to make Kaka part of a mega-offer for Manchester United star Wayne Rooney.

However, Kaka is clearly not the same player as he once was. Injuries have greatly affected him in the last season or two and his continues to be hampered by various physical concerns. Given his age, it is difficult to see former Rossoneri again reaching the heights he once did in his time at Milan. Inter’s interest in Kaka is more than likely just a response to Milan’s purchase of Ibrahimovic. With Wesley Schneider pulling the strings for Inter in the middle, there is little reason why the Nerazzurri would buy him.

A return to the Rossoneri seems the most likely destination, The signing of Mezut Oezil in the summer was also perhaps if Kaka is to stay in Europe. Other than the apparent interest a suggestion by Mourinho that Kaka was or is not part of his from the two Milan giants, Kaka’s time in Europe may be over plans at the Bernabeu. before expected with seemingly little interest from the rest of Kaka, who has undergone surgery on a torn ligament in his Europe and understandably so. left knee since the World Cup, is not expected to play until January. By this time, Kaka may not be a Blancos any longer. Sao Paulo from Brazil has recently announced their interest in Since leaving Milan in the summer of 2009 for Real Madrid, bringing back their former star and this may just be where the Kaka has failed to live up to the hype and expectation that his Brazilian star ends up. arrival in Spain prompted. There have been many rumours as Whether Kaka will continue to be a Los Blancos remains to why but one pervading one is that Kaka’s physical condition to be seen. Football fans, particularly those at the Santiago is fragile and indeed it seems so. Now at the age of 28, there is Bernabeu and the men that funded his mega-money transfer, a suspicion that we may have already seen the best of Kaka. will be hoping that he returns to his best in all white of Real Madrid. Given Kaka’s physical condition, he has suffered from various ills in recent years, his modest showing in his debut season at Madrid and that Mourinho has hinted that Kaka is not an indispensable member of his squad, it is very much a possibility that Kaka may indeed be looking at his options beyond Real Madrid very soon. A return to Milan, the club where he enjoyed his greatest success, is the destination apparently favoured by Kaka. Given the adoration he enjoyed from the Milan fans and Milan’s propensity to buy stars past their prime, it seems more likely that Kaka would return to his former club, rather than their hated city rivals. www.11players.ca | 11 Players | 29


Back in 2006 Italy would not have won the World Cup without Andrea Pirlo. The Milan ace was crucial to Italy’s success and his performances were recognised after he was voted the third best player of the tournament. In the all important final, Pirlo was recognised as the best player on the pitch, a remarkable achievement given the talent on display that day.

Rivaldo and Rui Costa being first choice for the creative attacking role, there was no room again for the promising Italian starlet. Carlo Ancelotti, hence, made the same move as his namesake at Brescia had done. It proved a masterstroke. Milan’s success over the decade was largely created around the creative spirit of Pirlo playing out from deep in midfield.

Since arriving at Milan from Inter in 2001, Andrea Pirlo has been equally crucial in helping the Rossoneri win two Champions League trophies, reach another final and claim the 2004 Scudetto.

But, this success also hinged upon the partnership Pirlo formed with Gennaro Gattuso. In his day Gattuso was arguably the best defensive midfielder in the game. Tough, committed, brave and plain relentless, Milan’s passionate Pirlo has enjoyed an incredibly number 8 seemed to never tire successful career. Originally more doing the work of two players it of a second striker in the mould of seemed at times. a Roberto Baggio or a Francesco Totti, the Milan number 21 has It was a simple ploy really. achieved all this success playing Gattuso’s job was to get the ball in a role that was innovative at the and give it to Pirlo. From the start time. Pirlo’s defensive qualities were suspect, but such was the presence It was Carlo Mazzone who first of Gattuso in his peak that this deployed Pirlo has a kind of deeplying midfielder when he was plying his trade at Brescia. The reason being that with Roberto Baggio playing in the same side, there was no room in the attacking third for Pirlo. At Milan Pirlo found himself in a similar situation. With the likes of

mattered little. However, in recent seasons Gattuso has not been able to retain the same high levels. Particularly poor in his last two seasons, though, the spirited Calabrian is enjoying somewhat of a Renaissance this term.

The same can be said of Pirlo. His last two seasons have not been great by his standards and even this season he continues to blow hot and cold. There is a correlation here. Pirlo’s success as a deep-lying playmaker was very much reliant on Gattuso. This was the case for both club and country. But, with Gattuso not being the Gattuso of yesteryear, much more is now expected of Pirlo defensively. But as it was in the beginning, it is the same now. Pirlo is not a defensive player. He is not a great tackler, he is no presence physically and he lacks aggression. In Milan’s last three games, Andrea Pirlo has not started one. Yet, these last three games have arguably been the best three games played by the Rossoneri this season. There may be a correlation here also. Playing with his favoured 4-3-1-2 system, Max Allegri has turned Milan’s fortunes around as the club sit atop the standings with great prospects for Scudetto success. With this system, three hard working midfielders are deployed behind the trequartista. Mathieu Flamini, Gennaro Gattuso and Massimo Ambrosini have been the preferred midfielders, with Kevin Boateng first back up. All four players have been enjoying some good form and this has made life much easier for Seedorf (and Allegri) as the trequartista as it relieves him of much defensive duty and allows him to concentrate on offense, an area his skills are more suited for. Against Bari, Palermo and Inter – at least in the first half – this set up enabled Milan to control games. Bari were

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‘PIRLO IS NOT AS EFFECTIVE IN THIS ROLE AS HE ONCE WAS.’ nowhere close to Milan in the middle of the park. Palermo’s creative star Javier Pastore had a night to forget. And it was the same case for Inter’s attacking spirits on Sunday night. It is a system that has paid dividends. However, it is a system that Andrea Pirlo is not really suited to and this was perhaps indicated by Allegri has he opted to start him on the bench for the derby. For this reason perhaps time is up for Andrea Pirlo as a deep-lying midfielder. He is not as effective in this role as he once was. Milan are set up differently now and the new system has different needs. This does not mean the end of Andrea Pirlo. But may be better used in the more advanced role he played as an Italian under 21 international. Perhaps as an understudy for Clarence Seedorf who at the age of 35 cannot start every game. But the Dutchman definitely deserves to keep hold of his new role. He has been enjoying it and has five assists to show for his efforts. www.11players.ca | 11 Players | 31

STEVEN DIONNE SPINAL CORD INJURY FUND A MIRACULOUS TRUE STORY. for more information please visit sdsci-fund.info

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world IN THE 3RD



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Alive & Kicking manufactures hand stitched sports balls in subSaharan Africa in order to provide balls for children who don’t have balls to play with, jobs for previously unemployed adults, and health awareness for young people through sport. Alive & Kicking’s work is based on the belief that by combining social entrepreneurship with sport’s mass appeal, lasting economic and social development can be achieved in Africa. Unemployment is high across sub-Saharan Africa and there is little to no welfare for those without jobs. There is a huge lack of sporting equipment available in schools and children’s projects, which means children can only play with balls they make themselves. Many children seldom have the opportunity to participate in organised games, missing out on fun as well as personal and social development. Coupled with these shortages is a lack of health awareness amongst young people about the deadly but avoidable diseases of malaria, TB and HIV /AIDS. Alive & Kicking addresses all three deficits by manufacturing hand stitched leather footballs, volleyballs and netballs in Africa. THE BALLS: Hand stitched out of local leather A&K balls are tougher than normal synthetic balls and better suited to last longer in rough playing conditions. They are also easily repairable which gives them further longevity. The balls are bought by donors for distribution to schools and children’s projects across Africa and every ball is printed with health awareness messages so that teachers and sports coaches can use sport to broach difficult topics of disease with children. In addition to Alive & Kicking’s standard leather ball, we have now developed a synthetic ball which is better suited for play in wet conditions and on grass and astro-turf surfaces.

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EMPLOYEMENT: Alive & Kicking has stitching centres in Kenya and Zambia employing over 150 people. Production of A&K balls in these countries provides much needed income for the communities in which we work as well as a boost in leather demand for local leather producers. Each job at Alive & Kicking provides an income for a stitcher which is typically the only income in a family of up to 10 people. In order to maximise local benefit our programmes are run as far as possible by local people, with only one of our 150 employees in Africa originating from outside the operation country. HEALTH WORK: Added to sport’s natural affinity with good health and its massive popularity, it is the perfect vehicle for raising health awareness. In this pursuit, Alive & Kicking prints simple health messages on HIV/AIDS, malaria or TB, on the balls we produce. The balls are used by teachers and sports coaches before or after sport to talk to young people about dangers to their health. In Kenya Alive & Kicking has produced a set of HIV/AIDS awareness posters featuring African sports stars warning young people of the dangers of contracting HIV. These have been distributed to every secondary school in Kenya, and a similar scheme is being launched in Zambia in partnership with the Ministry of Education.

Alive & Kicking prints simple health messages on HIV/ AIDS, malaria or TB, on the balls we produce.

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In both Alive & Kicking stitching centres the stitchers are beneficiaries of a workplace health programme which offers advice on how to stay well. Recently our partner organisations, Right to Play and Tackle Africa, have trained some of our stitchers as HIV peer educators and football coaches. This has added to their individual skill sets and has enabled Alive & Kicking to give health awareness sessions to young people during ball deliveries. Alive & Kicking is a UK registered charity 1105583. For more information contact: +44 (0) 207 630 7333 info@aliveandkicking.org.uk www.aliveandkicking.org.uk Alive & Kicking 2010

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At first, he played as a central midfielder behind the forwards. He was the main factor to bring the attackers in scoring positions, and he often scored himself. As a born left foot, he is particularly dangerous in standard situations, such as free kicks and corners. His endurance and acceleration were already way above the age standard. The following seasons, he continued playing central midfield, but more defensive and as a kind of sweeper in front of the defence. There, he could perfectly implement his abilities to influence the rhythm and the direction of the game . After being coached by experienced coachs in europe Hady finally was told his best position was left back where he would move up and down the line with his overlaps causing the oponents team to stay on there toes at all times.

Ottawa World Cup MVP 2010 Best Career Moment. 2006 FC Astra Ploiesti [Romania]

Favourite Player. Lionel Messi

Favourite National Team. Spain

Favourite Club. FC Barcelona

Favourite Position. Left Wing

Strength. Positioning / Endurance

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5 International Caps Kenya vs Zanzibar Tanzania vs Kenya Kenya vs Burundi Eritrea vs Kenya Kenya vs Guinea Paul is a lightning quick attacking midfeilder, who likes to play on the left wing. He aims to play professional football in one of Europe’s top clubs, and continue to develop his football talents. He is deadly on freekicks, very good dribbler and has a very powerful shot with great heading abilities. His wing play is wonderful due to his ability to use his great pace to full effect.

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