S-League trio have a ball with World Cup's Brazuca

S-League trio have a ball with World Cup's Brazuca

To striker Fazrul Nawaz, it is a dream. To goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, it is a nightmare.

But both Singapore internationals were happy to give the adidas Brazuca the thumbs up, even as they saw the ball from opposite sides.

Along with Tanjong Pagar United's Anthony Aymard, the trio of Great Eastern-Yeo's S-League players spent an hour earlier this week dribbling, shooting and saving this year's World Cup ball.

"It's always a bit strange playing with a new ball but I like this one," Aymard, the French centre-back, told The Straits Times.

"It's light and comfortable to the touch.

"You would be able to handle it easily after just two or three training sessions."

In truth, it did not take quite that long for the trio to get to grips with adidas' latest offering.

"I didn't need to put much power behind my kicks at all," said Warriors FC goalkeeper Hassan.

"All I had to do was strike it with the proper technique and the ball would travel fast and far."

Home United striker Fazrul, the S-League's highest-scoring local player this season, agreed.

"The ball is very light so it's more about accuracy and technique," said the 29-year-old, who found the net with regularity with the 437g ball. Other brands can weigh up to 450g.

"When I tried to use power, the ball just sailed over but when I kept my shots low and firm, it was easy to hit the target."

Hassan, on the other hand, found himself being repeatedly beaten by shots from in and around the penalty area.



"This ball comes at you very quickly," the Republic's No. 1 observed. "I could barely see it before it was in the net when they hit the ball to either corner."

While he observed that the Brazuca's trajectory is more predictable than that of its much-maligned predecessor, the Jabulani, it does still move haphazardly in the air when struck with the toes.

Italy's Andrea Pirlo gave a textbook example of this technique - employed to minimise spin and subject the ball to aerodynamic forces - in his side's 2-1 win over England last week, when his free- kick left Joe Hart stranded but crashed against the crossbar.

"It can be horrible for goalkeepers," Aymard remarked. "They always complain about the ball and you can understand why.

"All year long, they play in their respective leagues and when they get to the World Cup, the ball always behaves differently."

Little wonder then that Hassan was convinced that the ball favoured attackers.

"Don't get me wrong - I like the ball," the 30-year-old said.

"But I'm sure the outfield players will like it even more."

This article was first published on June 19, 2014.
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