Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
Despite the Reggae Boyz failing in their bid to qualify for next year's World Cup to be staged in Brazil, the country is still very much in the thick of things, as following on the heels of the World Cup Trophy Tour was yesterday's unveiling of the official match ball for next year's World Cup - the Brazuca - at the Grogge Shoppe, Devon House.
Resic Hanson, head of Sports Source, one of the distributors of the adidas brand in Jamaica, sought to explain why the island was chosen as one of the countries for the launch of Brazuca.
"The world recognises us being as a sporting country and also the role that football has played," Hanson expressed. "Even though the Reggae Boyz have not made it to Brazil, our athletes in general have an influence globally in sports.
"So it is natural that Jamaica be one of those regions that you launch the World Cup ball. adidas sponsors a number of athletes in Jamaica as well, and that in itself complements the launch of the adidas ball, the Brazuca."
Adidas has since 1970 designed a ball for each World Cup, which is most times inspired by the host country, and this year is no different. For the first time, fans were directly involved in choosing the name of the ball. And the name, Brazuca, means Brazilian or describes the Brazilian way of life. The colours and ribbon design of the ball panels symbolise the traditional multi-coloured wish bracelets worn in the country.
The ball is the product of a two-and-half-year testing process involving some of the world's biggest football stars, such as Lionel Messi. The technology incorporated into the bladder and carcass of Brazuca is the same as that used in the Tango 12 (the Euro 2012 match ball), Cafisa (2013 Confederations Cup) and the Champions League match ball, but the panels and surface structure are new developments.
Alfonso Celso Nery, Counsellor from the Embassy of Brazil, is hoping that the success his country has enjoyed playing with footballs made by adidas in the past will be replicated at next year's World Cup.
"We won the 1970 World Cup when adidas made the first ball, so we expect it to bring us good luck and that we will win the next World Cup," Nery said. "The Brazilian people are excited."
The ball was officially released yesterday, and according to Hanson, replicas will be available for purchase "at Western Sports, Sports Source and other retailers and should cost around $2,400, inclusive of tax".