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Maradona takes another kick at WC ball

Diego Maradona again laid into the World Cup ball on Tuesday and suggested his team was suffering from it more than others. It is not the first time at the tournament that the football legend has voiced his unhappiness with the controversial Jabulani ball.
By HT Correspondent | IANS, Polokwane
UPDATED ON JUN 23, 2010 08:40 AM IST

Diego Maradona again laid into the World Cup ball on Tuesday and suggested his team was suffering from it more than others.

"The pitch and the ball are the same for both teams, but both teams do not have the same feet, so who really is affected by the way the ball bounces and runs across the grass?" he asked after his team booked a place in the last 16 with a 2-0 win over Greece.

It is not the first time at the tournament that the football legend, who captained Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title, has voiced his unhappiness with the controversial Jabulani ball.

After Argentina beat Nigeria 1-0 10 days ago, he hit back at fellow playing greats Pele and Michel Platini, saying they should go and test it themselves instead of criticising his coaching credentials.

Following the victory over Greece in Polokwane, he again directed comments at Pele and UEFA President Platini, as well as German former playing great Franz Beckenbauer.

All three should use their influence with football's world governing body FIFA to get a new, better ball developed, Maradona said. He complained that the Jabulani ball had no spin, making it difficult to make a controlled, longer pass.

"Instead of talking about Diego Maradona, they should talk about the ball, about a ball which helps the players," he said.

"I've tried it myself (in training). This ball doesn't go round the corner, and you can't get in a good cross to the far post because the ball flies straight. We are not going to see any good moves in this World Cup because no one can get the ball and control it."

Maradona said the journalists who had criticised his team before the World Cup should now apologise after Argentina when 3-0 in the group stage.

"I think we're, right now, showing what we are able to do," he said.

"Many of you were saying wrong things. You were wrong and really wrong. There was also sometimes a lack of respect toward the players, and I think the journalists who wrote this nonsense should apologise."

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