By Calvin Palmer
When I first saw the name Sidibe among this year’s Oscar nominations, I thought someone had made a dreadful error. How could the Stoke City striker, Mamady “Mama” Sidibe, possibly be considered for an acting award?
Then the awful truth dawned on me. Of course, he deserves to be nominated because it is quite obvious that he is not a football player but is simply playing a part week in week out in the English Premier League. The only trouble is that he plays it so badly.
Given that the Oscar nominations are made by Americans, they can hardly be expected to know the difference between a class footballer and the likes of Sidibe. Perhaps they should have checked his playing record.
Strikers in football are the equivalent of wide receivers in the NFL. They are the players who score goals, the equivalent of touchdowns in the NFL. Sidibe has 301 club and international appearances to his credit and has managed to score just 43 goals.
The current top scorer in the English Premier League is Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney. Rooney has 304 appearances for club and country during which he has scored 125 goals.
Stoke City legend John Ritchie played 358 games during his career and scored 169 goals.
The accepted strike rate for a top-class striker in football is one goal every two games. Rooney’s strike rate is 2.4, while Ritchie’s was 2.1.
Sidibe’s strike record is one goal every SEVEN games!
If only the Oscar nominating committee had done their homework or tuned into ESPN yesterday afternoon to see Sidibe “perform” in the 0-0 game between Sunderland and Stoke City. What they would have seen was a player who cannot control the ball or pass it to another player. Well, he can but it is usually to a member of the opposing team. And for all his 6 feet 4 inches, he failed to win a ball in the air.
A less charitable person would have been forgiven for thinking, what the hell is Sidibe doing playing in the English Premier League, supposedly the best league in the world?
Anwers on a postcard to Tony Pulis at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, England, ST4 4EG.
Speaking of charity, I feel it would be a fitting gesture if the players and coaching staff of Sunderland AFC and Stoke City FC donated this week’s wages to the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund. Yesterday’s game was not exactly the best advert ever for the “beautiful game”. In fact, it was downright ugly and that had nothing to do with Rory Delap’s appearance as a second-half substitute.
Stoke City’s Tuncay should be allowed to keep £100 of his weekly wage for providing the only moment of quality during the entire 94 minutes of play with his clever back heel to send Dean Whitehead clean through. Sadly, Whitehead drove the ball tamely at Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon and was oblivious to players better placed to score.
Perhaps it was for the best – one of those players was Sidibe.