Thursday, February 14, 2008

Stupid Shrinking Planet

30 Years ago, foreigners in the English Premier League were considered a novelty and a bit of an aberration. Now, of course, the league is simply stuffed to the gills with speculative young players from all over the world. The EPL, if anything, is getting more speculative--getting players in their late teens after a year or two of success in one of the more crappy leagues in the world (African Leagues, the Brazilian league, or Ligue 1. (snap))

Aside from some rather xenophobic commentary out of England about how this is influx of foreign talent is hurting England's ability to field a quality national side (hey, England, maybe your most talented players are staying in shape. In deference to Frank Lampard, I won't name names), most realize that this is a good thing. Talent from all over the world playing in one place is pretty sweet--see the NBA (well, OK, not the actual NBA, but the idea of the NBA). The problem is that these sorts of young unknowns are the kind I was hoping would end up in the MLS to prove themselves before jumping into English or Spanish league play.

Regardless, I was very interested to read a SoccerNet article that Sanford had highlighted about the lesser-known African players who had acquitted themselves particlarly well in the African Cup of Nations.

And when I read that article, I noticed it highlighted a man who actually seems a little old for being discovered just now--24 year old Angolan striker Manucho. Of course, he's already been snapped up by Manchester United, even though thanks to the weird work permits that govern English soccer, he'll be stuck in the Greek League for the rest of the season. He represents exactly the kind of guy the MLS should be looking for. They should have been looking for him 2 or 3 years ago. But never mind that.

The article piqued my curiosity when they mentioned Manucho's shining moment in the tournament: "The most impressive aspect of Manucho's four goals was the variety of methods he utilised to find the net, while the pick of the quartet came against Egypt in the quarter-final when he rifled a left-footed drive home from all of thirty yards."

I don't know about you, but when I read left-footed drive from 30 yards, I go YouTubin. Here is the Manucho (Gonsalves) goal against Egypt. It's a corker. By my count, he uses two touches to score this thing, and fights off a defender at the very outset. Damn impressive. Enjoy, you Manchester United Red Devil bastards.

1 comment:

Karah said...

Yay for my team!