Menuju Piala Dunia 2018: Tiga Juara Legendaris

Piala Dunia kerap menjadi ajang pentasbihan pemain sepakbola legendaris. Dari sejak awal abad 20, banyak nama mencanangkan statusnya sebagai legenda pada turnamen bola empat kali setahun ini. Nama-nama seperti Pele, Beckenbauer adalah contohnya. Mereka memang sudah dikenal sebagai pemain sepakbola kelas dunia sebelum menjuarai Piala Dunia, namun keberhasilan mereka menjuarai Piala Dunia lah yang kemudian menghilangkan segala keragu-raguan untuk menyematkan gelar “pemain bola legendaris dunia”

Dalam tulisan minggu ketiga untuk menyambut Piala Dunia 2018 ini saya ingin mengupas tiga pemain legendaris yang ditasbihkan karena keberhasilan mereka memenangi kejuaraan sepakbola paling prestisius ini. Saya hanya akan mulai dari era Piala Dunia 1982 di Spanyol, karena baru mulai Piala Dunia ini lah saya mulai mengikuti dan menikmati permainan sepakbola.

1. Diego Maradona (Argentina) – Juara Piala Dunia 1986, Mexico

Salah satu pemain sepakbola paling legendaris dalam sejarah, yang mungkin hanya bisa diimbangi oleh Pele. Maradona memenangi Piala Dunia Mexico tahun 1986 dengan aksi heroik. Siapa yang bisa melupakan gol “tangan Tuhan” nya melawan Inggris di perempatfinal? Seakan sudah digariskan dalam sejarah, gol penuh kontroversi tersebut dilengkapi dengan salah satu gol paling brilyan dalam sejarah putaran final Piala Dunia: saat Maradona men-dribbling dari tengah lapangan, melewati 6 orang pemain Inggris, sebelum menceploskan bola ke gawang Peter Shilton. Gol yang belakang ini terpilih sebagai Goal of Century oleh FIFA mengantarkan Argentina mengalahkan Inggris dan maju ke babak semifinal.

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Menuju Piala Dunia 2018: Perjuangan Mendapatkan Tiket

Piala Dunia sudah terbukti bertahun-tahun sebagai salah satu pentas olah raga paling prestisius. Piala Dunia yang terakhir pada tahun 2014 di Brazil, merupakan secondbiggest sporting event in the world, hanya kalah dari Olimpiade London 2012 dari sisi jumlah attendance (yang datang dan nonton langsung). Dalam jangka waktu 1 bulan penyelenggaraan, Piala Dunia 2014 berhasil mendatangkan attendance sebesar 3,4 juta orang (bbc.co.uk)

Oleh karena itu, tidak heran kalau mendapatkan tiket menonton langsung pertandingan Piala Dunia juga bukan perkara yang mudah. At least if it’s easy, it’s not going to be cheap! Tapi berdasarkan pengakuan dari Ubai, teman saya yang sudah berpengalaman menyaksikan Piala Dunia dan Piala Eropa sebelumnya, berada pada tempat penyelenggaraan Piala Dunia sendiri sudah menghadirkan atmosfir fantastis. Apalagi secara langsung di dalam stadion.

FIFA sebagai penyelenggara event Piala Dunia membagi tahapan pemesanan tiket ke dalam tiga fase:

  • Fase Random selection draw – fase penjualan tiket secara acak. Jadi semacam lotere. Untung-untungan.
  • Fase First come first served – fase penjualan tiket secara cepat-cepatan.
  • Fase last minute sale – fase penjualan tahap akhir, Digunakan FIFA untuk menjual tiket yang tidak jadi digunakan dari dua fase sebelumnya, atau tiket untuk sponsor.

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Menuju Piala Dunia 2018: Impian Masa Kecilku

Pada bulan Agustus tahun lalu, teman lama saya, Ubaidillah Nugraha (panggil aja ‘Ubai’) mengirimkan pesan whatsapp “kompor”. Dia cerita, barusan saja booking flight ke Moscow, Russia di bulan Juli 2018 untuk menyaksikan putaran final Piala Dunia 2018. Dapat penerbangan yang relatif murah lagi. Hanya Rp 5jt-an untuk round trip ke Russia dengan Thai Air.

“Mau ikutan?”

Ee busyet kompor bener!

Kompor, karena menyaksikan pentas laga Piala Dunia secara bersama-sama sudah jadi impian kita bersama saat kami berdua menjadi peserta SIF Asean Visiting Student Fellowship di Singapura tahun 1996. Dulu target kita adalah nonton Piala Dunia 2006. “Masak sih sepuluh tahun kerja belum bisa kesana?”, demikian angan-angan kita. Eh, ternyata memang Allah belum mengijinkan ☺️. Ubai sih sudah lebih beruntung dari saya. Empat tahun lalu, dia sudah pernah merasakan atmosfer Piala Dunia di Brasil, dengan menjadi reporter salah satu media olahraga tanah air.

Untuk saya, ini masih jadi impian yang belum terwujud sejak kecil.

Sejak kecil?

Iya. Bagi saya pribadi, nonton Piala Dunia sepakbola secara langsung sudah jadi cita-cita dari saat saya mengenal permainan olah kulit bundar ini.

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Refreshing Cycling in Ragunan Zoo

Committed with our biweekly cycling schedule, today we took much less distance than 2 weeks ago. The total distance covered is “only” 20 km: from home to Ragunan Zoo, cycling inside the zoo, and return home. Although the distance was only half from our epic trip to Kota Tua, but actually the route was quite demanding, due to elevation.

We arrived at Ragunan Zoo around 6, and the zoo was just opened. For runners and bikers, coming early is the recipes for satisfying sessions. As there are not many visitors around, which help you to enjoy your activity in green, serene environment.

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Epic Sunday Car Free Day Ride to Jakarta Old Town

Okay, for some of you, the veteran bike athletes, 40kms is nothing. But for us, the reluctant folding-bike cyclists, this was an epic ride!

Committed to use my Brompton more often, I asked Rafif to join me for Car Free Day (CFD) cycling session. Initially I planned for riding at elevated road of Antasari, but alas, the road was only opened for CFD last week, hence we had to detour.

Of course, the Sudirman-Thamrin is the most likely destination.

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Experiencing Night Golf in Dubai

Teeing off on 1st Hole

Few months ago, I watched a video in YouTube where a professional golf teacher played a night golf round in Nick Faldo Course, Emirates Golf Club, Dubai. Quite fascinated with the video, I then planned to include a round of night golf in our Dubai holiday itinerary.

I booked the course and club rental through dubaigolf.com, a travel agent specializing in arranging golf trip in Dubai. I inquired and booked the whole package through emails. I found it very easy, and the staff was very friendly, even accomodating few changed requests on tee time from my side. At the end, they sent me a confirmation form which I have to sign and scan-mail to them, gave my credit card details, and all is set and done.

Today, my tee off time was at 7.25 pm. This is right after sunset. I purposely booked the round in this hour as I want to capture the picture on the sunset golden hours (hence my picture above ☺️). I came an hour before tee time, as I was informed by the agent that my round included 100 range balls to practice before my round. Good, because my golf swing was rusty as I didn’t swing any club during whole month of Ramadhan.

So I came at reception and gave the lady my tee off time. It was all good, they recognized my booking and my request for golf club rental. So after put my stuffs at locker and changed my golf shoes, here I am, heading to the range to hit some practice balls.

Getting the rust out of my swing
The Driving Range with Dubai skyscrappers at background

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Fight of Decade

“Fight of Decade” is finally happening. Will be glued to TV on Sunday morning for this.

For teaser before the match, watch this excellent HBO video on the story how this fight is finally realized, and who are the interesting characters behind this mega fight: https://youtu.be/hF76dlQt23c

I support Manny, but my rational head tells me it will be very difficult to blemish Mayweather unbeaten record. He is so good on defense. Ducking, swaying, moving all the time. Manny will be tired chasing. My prediction the match will go to jury’s scorecards in home advantage (MGM is Mayweather’s camp). Unless Manny land his crushing hook in early rounds. Go Manny!

View on Path

Padi Valley Golf Course Review

Padi Valley Golf Club Signage
Padi Valley Golf Club Signage

It is a tradition in my current company to have a golf round before our management off site. It goes even further: one of the main decision factor in determining the meeting venue is whether the place has nice golf course! *grin*

Our meeting this time is held in Makassar, South Sulawesi. And of course we’re targeting to play in recently opened Paddy Valley golf course. Located in Maros area, 25 km from Makassar city center, it takes about 45 minutes from Makassar airport to the golf course. Spare a bit of time if you plan to play here, as sometimes the traffic can be bad due to smaller roads to pass.

Arrived in the complex, the first impression of the course: it’s hot and dry. Many areas are still under development, and during my visit the paddy field was brown and dry. Not too promising.

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Is Tiger Woods Back?

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This is probably 1 billion dollar question in Golf: is Tiger Woods back?

Well, that depends on your criteria of “back”.

If what you meant: he is “back” playing golf at high level; then yes, you can say so. He is now leading the PGA Tour Scoring Average rank, with the average score of 68.334. He is also back as phenomenal putter, leading Stroke Gained – Putting with 1.476 strokes per round. His total driving stats also always ended up there in every tournament he entered.

If what you meant: he is “back” to winning circle, then he definitely is back. He has back since winning the Chevron World Challenge in 2011, actually. And he started off this year very well, winning 3 out of 5 tournaments he participated this year, with the latest came from Bay Hill (Arnold Palmer Invitational)

If what you meant: he is “back” to become the best player in the world; there’s also stats to back it up. He is now ranked first in Official World Golf Ranking, eclipsing Rory McIlroy after his win in Bay Hill. He is also leading Fedex Cup ranking, and also in PGA Tour money leaders table, thanks to the impressive run of form in 2013.

But then, there’s only one criteria where Tiger is not yet back: Major Win.

Unfortunately, that how we judge his performance throughout his career. And to be honest, that’s how he judge his success as well, admittedly or not.

Since he was a kid, Tiger has posted Jack Nicklaus poster at the wall of his room. His dream is not only become like him. He dreamt to be even better than Jack. Surpassing the 18 major titles the Great Bear had collected in his career.

Now, Tiger has 14, 4 major wins short of Nicklaus. At age of 37, TIger’s age right now, Jack also won 14 major titles. So people can say, Tiger is in remarkable similar trajectory as Nicklaus. But Tiger’s last win in major golf tournament was in US Open 2008. That was a long 5 years ago, a period where we see the fall and rise of Tiger Woods during his post marital affair crumble.

So back to the question: is he back? Judging from his own ridiculously high standard, we can all agree he is not yet back. But he is close. And this week’s Masters Tournament, may be the time when he announce to the world: “I’m back”.

Stay tuned. I’ll write more if Tiger is charging on the lush green of Augusta.