NASA join critics of Jabulani
Published 23:00 06/07/10 By Harry Moore
Space agency NASA have become the latest to put the boot into the infamous Jabulani World Cup ball.
FIFA have consistently backed the ball, which is manufactured by adidas.
But they may now have to accept defeat after the latest analysis supported criticism from goalkeepers such as Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon, Brazil’s Julio Cesar and Chile’s Claudio Bravo.
Aerodynamic experts from NASA’s Ames Investigation Centre stated the Jabulani becomes unpredictable at speeds above 44mph.
They also blamed the ball’s light weight of just 440 grams for the poor flight and lack of consistency, known as the ‘knuckle effect’.
NASA also believe the altitude could have increased the unpredictable nature of the ball, as most stadiums in South Africa are 1,000 metres above sea level.
Former Liverpool striker Craig Johnston is now an expert in the appliance of science to football equipment.
He said: “If a sponsor came into your office before the World Cup and said ‘We are going to give you a new, perfectly round match ball, the players won’t like it at all, there will be more mistakes made than in any other World Cup, there will be less goals, less free-kicks scored, less complete passes, less control by players and roughly 70 per cent of crosses and shots on goal will miss and go way over the bar ... what would you say to them?”
The Jabulani will be one of FIFA’s main topics at the World Cup de-brief in September.