Ole. Ola. Oo La La. Oh No. Oh… Never Mind.

If you’re only now just joining the World Cup hoopla, you probably missed the dust-up earlier this year about the official theme song to the 2014 World Cup.

The song, called “We Are One (Ole Ola),” was rolled out by football’s international governing body, FIFA, back last month, featuring Brazilian chanteuse Claudia Leitte, along with Cuban-American rapper Pitbull and US-born Puerto Rican singer Jennifer Lopez (a.k.a. J Lo). Organizers thought that might suffice.


According to The Associated Press and others, Brazilians were ticked off by this particular choice of musicians in a country that gave the world Bossa Nova and other inflections of Latin Jazz.  Critics have also complained that the song is mostly in English and Spanish, leaving only a few seconds at the end for Leitte to sing in her native Portuguese. They have taken their protests to Twitter, under the twitter tag #VoltaWakaWaka — a reference to Colombian artist Shakira’s song that she performed for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

“What I don’t like about the music is that it’s a poor, dull, generic pop theme,” Gaia Passarelli, a Brazilian music journalist and a former VJ for MTV Brazil, was quoted by AP as saying. “It’s a shame considering Brazil’s rich musical tradition, which is admired all over the world.”

“In the end, we lost a chance to do something rich, inspiring and cool. I’m feeling ‘saudades’ for Shakira,” Passarelli said, using a Portuguese word that roughly translates as painful longing.

Judge for yourself whether you think “We Are One” is more like “We Are Lame:”

On Assignment, On Football

VOA’s On Assignment talks with Sonny Young about the teams have that may have the best chance of lifting the championship trophy on July 13.

Sacre Bleu Les Bleus! Ribery is out…

How do you say “bummer” in French?

French star Franck Ribery won’t be appearing in Brazil for Les Bleus this year, after suffering a back injury. Here’s what the  French Football Federation had to say about it on their official Twitter feed:

ESPN reports that Ribery, who plays for the German powerhouse club Bayern Munich and was UEFA player of the year, had been expected to appear in Brazil, despite stubborn health problems.  France manager Didier Deschamps, however, told the media  Friday that Ribery had exacerbated the problem during Friday’s training session.

“Franck had been feeling better,” Deschamps was quoted as telling reporters. “The increase in intensity worsened the situation. This is a sad day, but we need to recover and prepare for the final friendly.”

As if Ribery’s loss wasn’t bad enough. Midfielder Clement Grenier was also reported to be out of the tournament with an adductor tear.

France kicks off its quest for World Cup victory against Honduras on June 15. Also in Group E are  Switzerland and Ecuador.

France Soccer WCup

Darfur United? Abkhazia FA?

Sick of World Cup hoopla? Think the whole thing has gotten too corporate, too greedy, too rigid, too authoritarian in its organization? Or just don’t have the cash to plop down for a flight to Rio?

Here’s an alternate suggestion: Check out few remaining games in the “Un-World Cup” formally known as the CONIFA World Football Cup.

As the BBC reports, the tournament, which is being held through June 8 in the central Swedish town of Ostersund, features teams from regions not recognized by world football’s governing body, FIFA.

This year’s competition features football luminaries representing off-the-beaten-track places like Abkhazia (a disputed region in the Caucasus nation of Georgia); Kurdistan (northern Iraq); and Darfur (the war-ravaged area of western Sudan). It also features a club called FA Sapmi, which claims to represent the Sami indigenous people whose historic territory spans Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. And don’t forget Padania FA, which comes from the Po Valley region of northern Italy, and parts of Croatia and Slovenia.

Check out the BBC report here.



(photo courtesy Darfur United Web site: http://darfurunited.com/du-2014/)