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Players slam WC ball

Spain's football stars panned the World Cup's official matchball "Jabulani" as they trained in Austria Monday, arguing it was too quick and hard to grasp.

sports Updated: May 31, 2010 16:17 IST

Spain's football stars panned the World Cup's official matchball "Jabulani" as they trained in Austria Monday, arguing it was too quick and hard to grasp.

"It's sad that an event as important as the World Cup has such a rotten ball," Spain's keeper and captain Iker Casillas noted from his squad's training camp in Schruns, in western Austria.

"This new generation of balls is very fast and it isn't just the goalkeepers who are complaining," he was quoted as saying by the Austria Press Agency.

The ball rather resembled a beach ball, the Real Madrid player said, insisting however that there was still time to get used to it before the tournament kicks off in South Africa on June 11. "We still have ten days until the World Cup," he added.

Teammate and Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez had similar concerns. "This is a ball you have to get used to.It's true that it is really fast. But we have to adjust as quickly as possible," he noted.

The ball also drew criticism last week from Chile keeper Claudio Bravo, who compared it to a beach volley ball, "very quick and hard to catch".

"They created it to make life difficult for keepers, so they make more mistakes and there are more goals," the Real Sociedad player told journalists.

"It's a very particular ball... and when you hold it in your hands, it feels heavier, it moves more than a normal ball. It has a special texture, which makes it impossible to catch when it's wet," he stated.

"It's hard to calculate its trajectory, which is unpredictable," Bravo also said, noting that match balls that moved "in strange ways" were increasingly complicating things for goalkeepers.

The Jabulani, which means "to celebrate" in isiZulu, was produced by Adidas using the latest football technology and its "grip'n'groove texture... allows for maximum control, stable flight and perfect grip under all conditions," FIFA insisted upon presentation of the official matchball.