South Africa World Cup and WORLD NEUROSURGERY

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    22wordsIFAoccerorld Cuporld Neurosurgery

    reviations and AcronymsA: Fdration Internationale de Football Association

    From the Department of Neurosurgery, University of Alexandria,Alexandria, Egypt

    To whom correspondence should be addressed: Mohamed El-Fiki, MBBCh, MS, DNCh[E-mail:]

    Citation: World Neurosurg. (2010) 74, 2/3:226-228.DOI: 10.1016/j.wneu.2010.07.028

    Journal homepage:

    Available online:

    1878-8750/$ - see front matter 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    6 WORLD NEUROSURGERY, DOI:10.1016/j.wneu.2010.07.028uth Africa World Cup and WORLD NEUROSUhamed El-Fiki

    AP UP

    n nearly every home or gathering in most countries over 6continents, people were hooked to TV sets and large screenswatching the breath-taking event, the World Cup. For the rst

    e, after nearly a century since the start of this great event heldry four years, Africa hosted the international competition. Out ofee European teams and Uruguay from South America who quali-for the seminals, Spain made history by winning, for the rste, the World Cup. The Spanish La Furia Roja has engraved inden letters its name in world soccer history as the eighth greatestcer national team to win the golden cup, beating an equallyellent team, the Orange Netherlanders, in spite of losing theirt match to Switzerland. Two years ago, La Furia Roja became theropean champions for the rst time since 1964. Likewise, if anted neurosurgeon from anywhere working in a team environ-ntpersistent enough, armed with proper guidance and train-, enthusiastic, hardworking, and eager for successlearns frommistakes and those of others, he will attain recognition in theernational world of neurosurgery.


    is success is directly related to administrative success and objec-selection criteria of players as well as national head coaches forse great teams. Quite remarkably, all outstandingly performingmswere led by experienced national coaches. The Spanish coachente Del Bosque had played in Real Madrid as ve-time Spanishgue winner and four-time Royal Spanish Cup winner. He alsoMohamed El-Fiki, MBBCh, MS, DNChProfessor, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Alexandria

    President, The Egyptian Society of Neurological SurgeonsAssistant Secretary of the African Federation of Neurosurgical Societies


    ropean Cup twice, the European Super Cup once, and the Conti-tal Cup once. The expert, Del Bosque, has beaten both the less-erienced Bert Van Marwijk and Joachim Loew in the nal andinal rounds, although Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, andguay exhibited excellent tactics and great soccer. Tactics domi-ed over personal talent, however. All four teams deserved theirsts. Similarly, the charismatic Marwijk of the Netherlands hasten the less-experienced coach but great player Dunga. Anotherhe greatest players ever, yet less experience as a coach,MaradonaArgentina lost to Loew of Germany. In spite of the fact thatrmany eliminated both the powerful England and Argentina,ring four goals in each game, theymarginally lost to the Spanishrld Cup winner. The high-scoring young German teams futureundoubtedly bright. Diego Forlan as the best player and Luisrez were enough power for La Celeste of Uruguay to be the darkrse of the South African World Soccer Tournament when it qual-d for the seminal. Forlan of Uruguay was chosen as the bestyer, although his country came in fourth place.he role of advanced tactics and studying your opponentether in soccer or neurosurgerymakes the difference, irrespec-ofwhether you lose orwin.As anAfrican and soccer fan togetherh many others, I believe that Ghanas Black Stars were brutallyinated from the golden seminal with a strike of bad luck. You

    lneed some luck inneurosurgery anda lot of luck in soccer. Therequestion of whether the nal game was rough and worth the

    sionof one red and 14 yellow cards, the highest in history. Canwee colored cards to neurosurgeons who handle tissues roughly?he balanced Spanish team was notorious for its collective teamlities as well as individual outstandingly talented soccer players.RG

  • including players such as such as Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie,Derek Boateng, and Wesley Sneijder, thanks to the great Spanishgoayousucwoingsuc







    countryhasexceededexpectationsandhasreafrmedthatFIFAs trustinAfricawasnotmisplaced(1).TheGermanchancellorAngelaMerkelexpAfr









    WOl keeper Eiker Casias. Spanish experience has beaten Germanth in the seminal. Winning theWorld Cup is like performing acessful neurosurgical operation. Experience counts, and team-rk is essential for a successful desirable outcome. Decisionmak-in each step for each particular patient is the hallmark for acessful operative outcome.he team with a nationally experienced coach, the best defense,the most shots toward the goal won the competition. Proper

    nning to avoid complications, together with enough knowledgewisdombalancedwith couragewill certainlymake aworld-classrosurgeon.


    rld-class players failed to present themselves when they playedthe national teams during the South African tournament foreral reasons. They have already reached their peaks. They alreadyy for and are sought after by the best world soccer club teams.ey did not have the support that they usually get from their superbleagues recruited from all over the world; some of them theyfronted as opponents. That is why a club team may performter than any national team in soccer. National neurosurgeonsy excel in their ownenvironment if theyhave the talent andproperining applicable to their local circumstances.eamwork failure for the French, English, and Italian teams led toir early defeat. Unexpected failure to circumvent interplayer tensionprofessional jealousy, as well as short-sighted perspectives,

    ught their coaches to interrogationbynational legislators andpolit-l leadership to explain the national embarrassment. Internationalures in sport, art, science, and other areas are sources of nationalde and aspiration for future generations. Thewhole teammust suc-devery timeyouperformneurosurgery, but youmayacceptdefeat ines of unavoidable complications if you have done your best. In neu-urgery, each operation is like a World Cup eliminating match, apetition that you must win. You must be armed with all necessary

    ormation about your opponent (the neurosurgical problem your pa-t is confronting) and try to be ready with modern technology iner to properly evaluate and navigate the situation. Modern technol-is not a substitute for experience or talent. FIFAhas approvedmod-technology for the referees in order to reach proper decisions inrld Cup games. This did not eliminate their mistakes. Individuallynted experienced neurosurgeons can make decisions to solve a di-ostic or operative dilemma, but they cannotmake it to the topwith-teamwork and effort of support staff. These members must besen properly.


    lson Mandela said, Sport can create hope, where once there wasy despair and the 2010 FIFAWorld Cup has renewed the spirit ofty in South Africa and across the world for people to nd theirmonhumanity (1). The successful hosting of the event representsproudest moment in Africas sporting history, as was expressed byRainbowNation president Jacob Zuma. Zuma also believes that hisRLD NEUROSURGERY 74 [2/3]: 226-228, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2ressed her admiration and delight for the FIFAWorld Cups Southican performances.or quite some time, themain reason the bid fromanAfricannationost aWorldCup soccer tournamentwas turneddownwas a logisticcern. These concerns included broadcasting, telecommunication,ety, and security of multibillion dollar renowned talented athletes,ches, supporting staff, and players. South Africa was chosen afterce competition. South Africa proved to be up to the challenge andformed exceedinglywell both in organization and actual conduct oftournament.outhAfrica,whereintegrationofdifferentethnicgroupsiscurrentlycessfully implemented, depicts the tendency ofmany neurosurgerytorial ofces, especiallyWORLDNEUROSURGERY, in their choice ofers from all over the world. All soccer teams condemned and re-

    tedany formofdiscrimination, sayingno toracism.ApartheidSouthica was once banned from international FIFA competitions; nowanging the FIFA World Cup competition is representative of toler-e. In spite of its security problems, South Africa has peacefullyted 31 other national teams and their supporters, in addition tocer fans from all over the world, with no untoward side effects orplications in neurosurgical terms. South African neurosurgeonsamongtheleadersonthecontinent.Neurosurgicalpractice inSouthica is one of the best in the continent.


    ring this tournament, it became evident howmuch football (soc-) has turned out to be so unpredictable. Some of themost favoritems were disqualied during the rst round. There are no smallto fry now in national soccer competitions. Ghanawas an excel-

    t example of the emerging forces and missed the seminal in amatic expression of bad luck. The gaps between the favoritems and others have nearly disappeared. In spite of the fact thatplications still occur in neurosurgery, even with the best ofds, Paul the Octopusmay predict the soccer game winner but henot predict postoperative results in neurosurgery. It became evi-t in national and international neurosurgery thatwith the impacthigh-technology digital revolution, optics, telecommunication,oscopy, computerized equipment, nanotechnology,metallurgy,igation systems, more precise diagnosis, and localization, it isw possible to pinpoint the potential limitations and means torcome these hurdles. The performance of newcomers from non-ditional soccer powers at the SouthAfricaWorldCup tournaments surprisingly good, with elimination of classic soccer superpow-exclusive of the German team before the seminals. Talent incer or neurosurgery is sought for by superpowers, industry of-ls, and fans or patients alike.


    spite the fact that the French, Italian (Serie A), British (Premiergue), Spanish (Soccer-Spain), French (Ligue 1), and Germanndesliga ) soccer leagues recruit the best players in the world, they,h the exception of Spain, were disqualied before the quarternals.010 227

  • Most of these leagues recruit class A players from African or SouthAmerican countries. Likewise there are many renowned internationalneuopepraCantognewSpaplathehisproseationmacouproto tovecap


    The soccer industry (soccer equipment and clothing manufacturersor international club stock holders) was highly concerned about thesuccess of the tournament. The new Jabulani ball, meant to deceivebofanwinweBaf

    South Africa itself may be a nancial loser, with about 50% of seatsvacant,whichFIFAwill have to take responsibility for. This, together

    Conflict of interest statement: The author declares that this article was composed in theabsence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potentialconflict of interest.







    22th players and goal keepers to increase the excitement of soccers, failed to increase scores. Industry and FIFA were the mainners. Soccer fans, especially from the host country South Africa,re more than sporting, especially after the South African Teamana Bafana left the tournament early. The successful organizer8 WORtion: World Neurosurg. (2010) 74, 2/3:226-228.: 10.1016/j.wneu.2010.07.028

    nal homepage:

    ilable online:

    -8750/$ - see front matter 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.rosurgeons from African, South American, and other less devel-d countries who are talented international neurosurgeons whoctice at Neurosurgery superpower centers in the United States,ada, or Europe. Japan, China, Brazil, India, Pakistan, and Turkeyether with Egypt have high-level neurosurgeons. Soccer is rather asport in Japan, Korea, and most Asian countries. The national

    nish team, the emerging soccer superpower that has endorsed itsce as the 2008 European Champion beating Germany, qualied fornal match of the World Cup championship for the rst time intory. Talent is sought everywhere. Underdeveloped countries stillvide most of its distinguished neurosurgeons to superpower re-rch institutes that attract neurosurgeons with research and opera-or diagnostic facilities not available in their homelands. However,

    ny recentpublications inWORLDNEUROSURGERY fromdevelopingntries are available. National neurosurgeons became more able tovideabetterstandardofneurosurgicalcareandpublications, thanksraining opportunities provided by the high ow rates of patients inrpopulated nations or areas deprived of enough neurosurgeons perita.

    with the maintenance expenses of 11 stadiums, may turn SouthAfrica into the main nancial loser. However, South Africa andAfrica as a whole have gained much respect and international repu-tation both socially and politically. Industry has driven a lot of im-provement and development in world neurosurgery, especially ininstrumentation, navigation, endovascular and computerized diag-nostics, with consequent increased operative precision and patientsafety due to fewer complications.

    One must operate and play according to ones own circum-stances, unlike the Brazilians, who played European soccer ratherthan South American soccer, as was suggested by Franz Becken-power as themain reason for their early disqualication.With glob-alization, the world has turned into one village, with neurosurgeonsand soccer players alike recruited from all over the world. When itcomes to World Cup national competitions, local facilities and cir-cumstances must be taken into consideration.


    1. FIFA World Cup. Accessed October 5, 2010.LD NEUROSURGERY, DOI:10.1016/j.wneu.2010.07.028



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