Issues & Controversies Is showboating sportsmanly? Or does it warrant moderation?

Is showboating sportsmanly? Or does it warrant moderation?

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The saying goes, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. But doing exactly that in football could earn you a booking henceforth. Probably there is a hidden rule somewhere that mandates referees to award a yellow card for being too extravagant with your skills. Perhaps showboating has entered the rules book as utter disrespect towards one’s opponent, and is now punishable by law.

That was the scenario that played out in South Africa days ago when the man in the middle for a league game stopped play, and cautioned a Baroka F.C. player for exhibiting a piece of length skillset. In S.A., such skills are referred to as Kasi Flava. Mike Dean could definitely take a page out of this referee’s book.

But is showboating sportsmanly/gentlemanly in the beautiful game of soccer? Often times, skillful players would take their time on the ball to flaunt their skills in order to entertain fans, particularly after the game has been put to bed.

Prime culprit is a certain Neymar Junior who plies his trade for you-know-which club. He has often been targeted by opposing defenders for his knack of frustrating them with mesmerizing moves only Brazilians know how to pull off with ease.

In Europe, it is a big crime, one punishable by bouts of kicks from treacherously angry players who have been subjected to the torture and embarrassment that comes with falling for these tricks.

Not many stand with Neymar on this, with many believing respecting your opponents is more important than entertaining the fans, or making compilations for your YouTube “best-of-(insert showboater’s name)” videos.

Before Neymar, Ronaldinho was the king of showboating, and fans worldwide just wanted to watch him do his thing regardless of what the scoreboard read. But the former 2-time Ballon d’Or winner hardly crossed the line. However, how many of such skills must you do to cross that line? Any rules?

While this is the tradition in South America—football’s place of birth, Europe, frowns at it. And now Africa has joined that bandwagon.

Is showboating necessary? To what end should it be done? Should it be left to futsal matches, beach football and T.V. adverts?

The fans pay a lot to watch games, at the stadium or as subscription fees in the comfort of their homes, and as such, they deserve some Jay-Jay Okocha moments every now and then. Those mind-blowing skills are what makes the beautiful game beautiful.

In a world where clubs and players are sealing mega-deals, and where big bucks are threatening anything humane and normal left about the game, showboating should be the least of our concerns. And inasmuch as we may be tempted to advocate for its moderation, what amount of such actions will mean moderate, as opposed to over-doing?

Pogba sure wouldn’t mind giving United fans a piece of this Kasi Flava move next game. What other way is he expected to repay his £89 million fee than with a piece of out-of-this-world skill?

The mission of any player is to win a soccer game, and if need be for him to pull out any trick from his boots in order to do this, so be it. Whatever reason anyone has to showboat or “showboast” is justified. That South African ref is wrong, and so is anyone who doesn’t want soccer fans to enjoy the game.

Long live the showboating kings!!! May they never be harmed in the course of action.

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