Diving has long been the bane of football. You might smirk a little when one of your representatives fools a referee, but few things are more annoying than seeing it happen the other way around.
One man that has been in the news for both right and wrong reasons is Wilfried Zaha. Undoubtedly talented, the Ivorian has won his club side many a game this season with moments of individual brilliance. Nonetheless, Crystal Palace’s winger has been known to go down more easily than most.
This story goes a little further back however, with a certain game at Vicarage Road a flash point in this recent narrative. Back in December of 2016, Zaha was accused of diving to win a penalty against Watford. Mascot ‘Harry the Hornet’ then amused the home support by throwing himself onto the pitch at full time, imitating the former Manchester United man.
In the run up to a match between these two sides one month ago, Roy Hodgson defended his much maligned forward — who had been booked yet again for the same issue in their April clash. The Guardian reported the Englishman’s comments as he came after Watford for allowing such antics:
“ZaHa Is SuCh A dIvEr”
“Oh really. Could you possibly Google and post any footage, any at all, of Wilf diving and post it here please”
…….half an hour later…..
Aaaaaannnndddddd repeat….. #CPFC
— GazBod (@gazbod) 18 September 2018
“If you’re asking me whether Harry the Hornet, who I presume is the mascot, should dive in that way, I think it’s disgraceful, because that’s not what football matches are about. If it’s provoking the crowd into looking for something that’s not there, it should be stopped.”
Hodgson – “It was a pretty clear penalty decision but we didn’t deserve more than a point from the game,”
Gonna get it in early. Dummett never touched zaha, clear dive
— virginho (@_benufc) 17 September 2018
Zaha then added fuel to the fire by claiming his critics were merely ‘jumping on the band wagon‘. So, was it a foul or not? Roy Hodgson thought it was. Was the deciding factor in Kavannagh’s call Zaha’s propensity to go down under minimal contact? Only he knows.
We all know what the agenda against Zaha is. It’s the same as with Sterling. Let them blossom and become good. Let them be under the microscope and their talent be undeniable. And then shoot down the black kids from London. It’s plain and simple. Call it what it is. Racism.
— Nav_is_tweeting (@tweetingnav) 17 September 2018
Let’s face it, coaches get a tough time of it when it comes to losing games. ‘Well, they get paid enough’ you say? It’s a fair point, but from Graham Taylor’s fateful stint as England boss to the worst dive ever in a match between Universidad de Concepcion and Colo-Colo, something needs to be done.
A few years ago the MLS official website revealed that then Stoke — now Middlesbrough — coach Tony Pulis was in favour of such an idea, hoping it would alleviate pressure: “It would help the referees, it would help us, the football nation and the supporters.
“And it would get the decision right, which is more important than anything else.”
The VAR for the world up, while I think is a really good idea for soccer, still needs a couple changes. Just give the coaches a challenge flag like the nfl. Only get two opportunities to throw it and if you get two right in a row you get a third challenge
— Maz (@BrownnAndBoujee) 25 June 2018