The biggest sporting event of this year is definitely the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. This is the time when even non-football fans will watch the beautiful game so that they are not left out of the most talked event in June and July.
So expect hardcore football fans to be annoyed by questions like “What’s the offside rule?” or “What colour is Brazil?”
Sometimes, things like this put me off from wanting to watch the games, but I will find it tough to not to switch on the television if Brazil is facing Holland in that crucial knockout match.
Expect lots of news from Brazil where thousands of people will take to the streets to protest, just like what happened in the Confederations Cup last year.
They protested over the costs of hosting the World Cup and after prices of bus fares increased by 10% in Sao Paulo.
After police took things a little too far with their heavy-handedness, the protests turned into a nationwide movement demanding better health, education and transport among other things.
But we can look forward to other sporting event as well – such as the Olympics. Not the summer version but the Winter Olympics, which will be held in February in Sochi, Russia.
There are good reasons to follow this event closely, which is in the news, because the costs for the event have ballooned up from US$12bil to $US51bil, the most expensive Olympics in history.
It has also gained a lot of publicity after Russia’s ban on non-traditional sexual relations on the games. In response, Germany came up with “rainbow-coloured” uniforms, said to be a silent protest against Russia’s ban.
Germany denied this and said that it was just a fashion statement. So besides the exciting action on the snow covered slopes, expect some protests against Russia’s homophobic government.
It could be in the form of colourful uniforms, same-sex holding hands and who knows what else.
Malaysia won’t be involved in these two tournaments but will look forward to competing in the Commonwealth Championships in Scotland and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
The latter especially will be the perfect place for Malaysia to gauge their strength in sports and see how far we are lagging behind the continent’s best.
For me personally, I will be looking forward to watch how Liverpool cope with the second half of the English Premier League season and whether they are able to qualify for the Champions League.
I will also be looking forward to see how Johor Darul Takzim perform in the Malaysian League, especially with the likes of a certain Pablo Aimar now being the main man in the team.
It will also be another crucial year for our Harimau Malaya as a new coach takes over Datuk K. Rajagopal. Who will be the next coach – Marcel Desailly, Philip Troussier or Znedek Zeman?
It’s going to be another action-packed year in sports, although I expect a lot of the action to be off the field. Have a good sporting year ahead!
> The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.