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World Cup stars channel ninja power
Friday, May 30, 2014

Update: 9:57PM World Cup stars will be summoning ninja power when they strike at goal during the tournament in Brazil; and Asian players should be at an advantage over westerners when it comes to kicking the new Brazuca ball.

Knowledge from the ninja, Japan's secretive feudal spies and assassins, is the secret behind the new ball from Adidas, news agency Reuters quotes a Japanese researcher as saying.

The Brazuca was made with its World Cup predecessor the Jabulani in mind. 

That ball was a bad joke of the 2010 tournament with irregular flight causing many a goalkeeper blushes.

Takeshi Asai, a professor of sports science near Tokyo told Reuters the new ball would be more stable through the air, thanks to its six panels and a design thats in the shape of a 'shuriken' the throwing star used by the ninja.

Asai collaborated with John Eric Goff, a physics professor at Lynchburg College in the United States, to study the aerodynamics of the Brazuca when it was released in December.

The two concluded that because the total seam length on the Brazuca is 68 per cent longer than the Jabulani, it will add resistance that will allow the ball to fly more true at higher velocity.

The seams are also deeper, which adds drag factor.

Asai found that the air resistance around the Brazuca, which is lighter than the Jabulani, is minimised when the ball flies at around 20 metres per second, the approximate speed of fast passes.

When the Brazuca flies within this range of speed, the air resistance suddenly drops to help the ball fly fast, he said.

"Because it flies fast with a soft kick, I think it's an optimal ball for Asian players who kick comparatively softer than western players with higher physical abilities."

For everyone who benefits from the new style, there are others who are brought back to pack.

 Cristiano Ronaldo, who likes to take free kicks without spin, is less likely to get wicked wobble from the new ball, says the researcher.

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