Fire Alumni Update: Damani?

Discussion in 'Chicago Fire' started by NotAbbott, Jul 2, 2005.

  1. NotAbbott

    NotAbbott Member

    Oct 11, 1999
    My Own Little World
    I was just looking at the official CONCACAF release with the final rosters for the Gold Cup, and Damani Ralph was listed with no club affiliation. Oversight, or did something happen with the Russians that I didn't know about?

    Later,
    COZ
     
  2. Chicago1871

    Chicago1871 Member

    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    He's still listed on the Kazan website, but he doesn't have any stats for 2005 and I can't read cyrillic.

    List of players: http://www.rubin-kazan.ru/?page=255
    [He's number 10, third from the bottom]
     
  3. I searched through the website (I can read Russian very well) but there is no info about any transfer nor any news. The site doesn't seem to be updated very frequently though.

    Marcin
     
  4. Thomas Flannigan

    Feb 26, 2001
    Chicago
    Thanks, Marcin, my reading knowledge of Russian is not so good. I know some think my reading knowledge of English is not so good either, but I am off-topic and it is only the second sentence.
    I have been in Kazan, only for 30 minutes, as the Trans-Siberian pulled in and out, in May of 1978. It was my 7th day on the train and I was dog-tired. It is the last stop before Moscow, and is capital of the Republic of Tatarstan. It is a beautiful town, but I would go crazy living there. It is not at all cosmopolitan like Moscow or St. Petersburg. I imagine Damani's transition was harder than for Bocanegra or Beasley. There is a big language and culture barrier in a place like Kazan. Tatarstn has more Buddhists than any part of the former USSR, even more than Tuvinia. I imagine Kazan is more Russian than Tatar. It sure looked Russian from the train.
    Tatars are great dancers. Vaclav Nijinsky was half Polish half Tatar, and Nureyev was also part Tatar. Faroukh Ruzamatov of the Kirov is also a Tatar.

    http://www.tatar.ru/?DNSID=cf1d893deba3fb22dfab086fa0927135&page=&full=17962
    This is big news in the Orthodox World....

    Kazan icon of Godmother will be returned to Kazan on day of the Annunciation cathedral opening which is to take place in the Kazan Kremlin on July 21. It will be held if the city fulfills a number of the conditions put by the Patriarch Moscow and All Russia by Alexi II, among which - restoration of the Virgin monastery and liquidation tobacco factory from nearby territory. Mayor of Kazan Kamil Iskhakov informed the journalists about it right after the sessions of organizing committee on preparation and opening of the Annunciation cathedral. Session under presidency of RT Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov passed at RT Cabinet.
     
  5. Chesco United

    Chesco United Member+

    Jun 24, 2001
    Chester County, PA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Actually, Thomas, I believe the Tatars are mostly Muslim. (Kalmykia is the place with the Buddhists, IIRC). Otherwise, good stuff.
     
  6. genpabloescobar

    Feb 17, 2002
  7. feuerfex

    feuerfex Member

    Apr 21, 2001
    Yeah, I wouldn't read too much into it; there are at least a half dozen others without team affiliations (not to mention that Ruiz is listed twice).
     
  8. Thomas Flannigan

    Feb 26, 2001
    Chicago
    My mistake. Kalmykia has a majority of Buddhists IIRC. Astrakhan has been visted by the Dalai Lama, I think. Numerically there are more Buddhists in Tatarstan than Tuvinia, but that is a quibbling really. Crimean Tatars have a large Muslim contingent, and a medresseh too, again writing from memory as I always do.
    But thing of the hell holes FC Kazan has to play in: Vladikavkaz, Grozny, etc. Don't get me wrong, these places are beautiful, but what do you do at night? Avoid kidnapping? There is that risk.
     
  9. 352gialloblu

    352gialloblu New Member

    Jun 16, 2003
    England
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    Damani played today (75 minutes) in Rubin's 1-1 draw away to Torpedo that puts them 4th in the table. He's played in 14 games, but has only scored once, and today was his first start in four matches. (www.soccerassociation.com)
     
  10. Greddy

    Greddy Member

    Jun 24, 2003
    Chicago
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Wow, I forgot that Fernando Cavenaghi played in that league.
     
  11. 352gialloblu

    352gialloblu New Member

    Jun 16, 2003
    England
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    I forgot that Fernando Cavenaghi existed. :D
     
  12. Justin O

    Justin O Member+

    Seattle Sounders
    United States
    Nov 30, 1998
    on the run from the covid
    Club:
    Seattle
    If I may also quibble, I find it extemely unlikely that Tatarstan has more Buddhists than Tuva or Kalmykia. (Elsita, not Astrakhan, is the capital of Kalmykia, by the way, and i believe was visited by the Dalai Lama) Kalmyks, Buryats, and Tuvans are pretty much it as far as Budhists in the ex-USSR go, and I'm quite certain none of those groups have any kind of substantial population in Tatarstan.

    Terek most certainly DO NOT play their home matches in Grozny or anywhere in Chechnya. That would be utterly impossible from a security stand-point and is likely to remain unthinkable for years to come. They're in "exile" somewhere in the Krasnodar Krai, I believe, a few hundred kilometers from Chechnya. Vladikavkaz is a bit sketchy, but it's doable. It's certainly no Grozny.

    And I must say any impressions of Kazan from 1978 are long since irrelevant. "Cosmopolitan" is in fact one of the words most often used to describe it today, though of course reletive to Western Europe it hardly qualifies. Its government has, or at least had, a fair degee of autonomy and attracted significant foreign investment in the 1990s.

    Oh, and as for Damani, I got to see 3 or Rubin's first 4 matches this season on TVand he was certainly a non-factor, though he started all the matches I saw. Rubin, however, are doing pretty well and are in the thick of the race for European qualification.
     
  13. Thomas Flannigan

    Feb 26, 2001
    Chicago
    Justin O, glad you can post here. I hope things are OK over in Dushambe. The Crimean Tatars, along with the Chechens, were resettled during World War II and allowed to return, but I don't think modern Tatarstan was their true ancestral homeland. Recall the line from The Cancer Ward, when Vega is sizing up Kostaglotov: "You aren't a Chechen are you, or a Kalmyk, or one of the other resettled nationalities?" I think there are only about 70,000 people in Tanu Tuva and they are not all Buddhist. Chicago has way more Buddhists than Tuvinia. By the way, do you know anyone who has been to Tuvinia? I have never met one, but I have planned how to get there. Not a lot of choices...
    If I am not mistaken, Kazan was a closed city during Soviet times, like Gorky or Voronezh (site of the famous UFO landing that broke up a soccer game in progress, the beginning of perestrioka). Sakharov was exiled in Gorky so no foreign journalists could visit him. The only way you could see these places was by passing through (I was at the Voronezh airport when my plane stopped there, and let me tell you something, nobody is missing anything by not going there.) I imagine even now Gorky is not so cosmopolitan because you don't turn the Queen Mary on a dime. Damani may well be the only Jamaican in Kazan. That can't be good for his happiness.
    This will be Flannigan Exotic Theory Number 567, but I think Jamaicans, like many other ethnic groups, play better abroad when they are with other Jamaicans. I really think Andy Williams played his best soccer when he was with Damani in Chicago. Wolde Harris played better with Williams in Boston. Derby County had a couple of Jamaicans on the field at the same time, with the father of one of them allegedly selling ganja outside of Pride Park.
    When the first Swedes came into the NHL, Toronto deliberately got a pair of them: Borke Salming (Kiruna boy) and Inge Hammerstrom (Goteborg??). Press reports at the time said they did it that way to ease the culture shock. It worked, but who knows if it was a factor. There was already a Swedish community in Toronto.
    I wish GOL TV would show some of those Russian league games. I saw some really wild stuff when I was able to see them on Soviet TV.
     
  14. Justin O

    Justin O Member+

    Seattle Sounders
    United States
    Nov 30, 1998
    on the run from the covid
    Club:
    Seattle
    Tuva has a bit more than 300,000 people, 2/3 of whoms are ethnic Tuvans. It's the only ethno-territorial unit in Russia east of the Urals where the titular nationality makes up an absolute majority of the population. I spent about 2 weeks there in 2002 and it made up a big chunk of my MA thesis, so I may not be good for much, but I am good for useles info on Tuva and the demographics of the Russian Federation! I'd bet my house that the total population of Buryats, Tuvans and Kalmyks in Tatarstan is less than 200,000.

    Also, don't confuse the Tatars (a huge group of whom there are millions all over the former Soviet Union) and the Crimean Tatars (a small group on the Crimean Peninsula). They're separate. They're both Turkic-speaking Muslim groups, and certainly have a lot in common, but Tatars are no more similar to Crimean Tatars than they are to Kazakhs, Karakalpaks, Kumyks, or Nogai - all Muslim, Turkic-speaking peoples with languages in the same linguistic sub-group as Tatar and Crimean Tatar.

    And Cancer Ward notwithstanding, the Kalmyks weren't deported, though plenty in Russia (including famous authors) can be a bit vague on exactly who was deported or, for that matter, what the difference is between a Kalmyk and a Kumyk and a Karachai. Can't blame them really.

    And Damani may be the only Jamaican in town (possibly not) but Kazan has one of the best basketball teams, as well as one of the top hockey teams in Russia. I don't have current rosters in front of me, but both teams have a fairly international flavor. In fact, if Rubin continue to stay in the top 5 in Russia, Kazan could easily make a claim that it, and not St Petersburg, is the country's No. 2 sports city.
     
  15. Thomas Flannigan

    Feb 26, 2001
    Chicago
    Good work by Justin! I have never been able to find any information about Tuvinia, and now you have a guy on a soccer billboard who has been there! Obviously, I was wrong about the population of Tannu Tuva, but maybe the capital city, such as it is, has that (mistaken) estimate of 70,000. I read it somewhere.
    I think we can agree to disagree about the Crimean Tatars, other Tatars, and Dr. Vera Gangart flirting with a European-looking person of unknown extraction at a Tashkent clinic, circa 1953, at least as told in a novel. By the way, I read somewhere, I think it was in Pakistan, that all of the characters in The Cancer Ward were real, with the names changed, and that the old female radiologist, Dr. Dontsova, was still practicing at the clinic around 1980. But I digress.
    As to Damani, I never thought the transfer would work in the first place. Bocanegra yes, DaMarcus, yes, but they were in cosmopolitan places where eveyone speaks English. You don't have that in Kazan.
    We were in Baku 4 years ago and we met a guy from Liverpool at the airport who had worked as a DJ in a disco for 1 year. He was so happy to get out I thought he would break out in hives! He said it was a living hell living there. The people who could speak English-not many-could not understand his Liverpool accent. He had few friends. People were nice, including Muslim Azeris, but it was a very sad time in his life. He was 23.
    I liked Baku, but I would not want to live there. I speak bad, passable Russian, but even that makes it 20 times easier than a guy with a Jamaican dialect. It was interesting to read your comment about FC Grozny being exiled to Krasnodar Krai. Never been to Krasnodar, but we almost made it. We heard in Baku the ferry was still running and we inquired at the dock. You neeeded a Turkmenistan visa even to board the oh so exotic trans-Caspian public boat, and that took too much time in Baku to be feasible. They also have a ferry to Iran, which avoids the time-consuming Tabriz route, but if you thought it was hard to get a Turkmenstan visa, try an Iranian visa. For the record, we got Turkmenistan visas at the Ashkabad Airport in 1992 and got Iranian visas in DC in 1997, with all kinds of red tape. You could not smile in the visa photos, my wife had to wear a chador even in the photos. And so on.
    The Lyric Opera of Chicago tries to engage the greatest singers in the world and if you think soccer players are nuts, try opera singers. They try to make them feel at home. They study their quirks and make their hotel rooms more inviting, with complimentary deliveries of their favorite wine, pate, mineral water and so on. One goofy diva wanted song birds in a cage. They found a bird guy in Chicago who had these birds and they were in her hotel room and the staff looked after them. She sang Carmen like an angel.
    I will bet you FC Kazan gave Damani a great apartment, the nicket tour, and left him to hang in the wind. It is a huge cultural jump from Jamaica to Connecticut to Chicago and then to....FC KAZAN????? It may as well be the Dark Side of The Moon FC. Get Damani home, and fast. He will die on the vine in Kazan.
     
  16. Fajkus Rules

    Fajkus Rules Member

    Mar 10, 2000
    Lake Zurich, IL
    I was also confused because Soccer America is listing Damani as being with Harbor Town, which I believe is the top Jamaican club. But another thread started today (7/13) links to an article in the Houston Chronicle where Damani discusses his experience in Russia. Search for "Damani Ralph" and it will be in the first ten listings.
     
  17. bing1985

    bing1985 Member

    Jun 14, 2004
    Near West ChiSuburbs
    I watched most of the Mex-Jamaica match last night. Fun to watch Damani and ANdy Williams again.

    BTW - slight digression - it was the "good" Andy Williams last night. Tried very hard, worked some magic. THat guy is very entertaining and really creates some dangerous opportunities when he wants too. To bad his team mates lost their finishing touches.

    Damani played up until about the 70th min. He wasn't much of a factor, IMO. He showed some nice form battling for balls and good speed to win a couple but then sent in horrid crosses to no one. I don't recall him putting a shot on frame. Anyway - that's my take. Of course, my spanish is not good and it was sometimes difficult to tell which player which. At least good to see his nat team coach still has confidence in him.

    PS - here's the Houston Chron article mentioned above.
     
  18. jjayg

    jjayg New Member

    May 9, 2002
    Rolling Ghettos, IL
    I watched the game too. Andy played ok. He did what he does. I think one of the biggest knocks I have on him is that he doesn't make good runs often after he's passed the ball. He almost always stops in support or square when there are good runs to be had.

    Damani looks just like old Damani. He might have gotten even a little stronger with the ball at his feet but it's still head down plow to the goal. No vision, no passing near the box, no aerial pressence. Still, I wouldn't have minded seeing Ralp and Rolfe together.
     
  19. Thomas Flannigan

    Feb 26, 2001
    Chicago
    I saw this link over on the MLS Boards: You know I have been saying. Damani won't you please come home.

    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/sports/soc/3265600

    Ralph also has encountered issues like racism, diet, weather and language barriers that have made playing in Russia challenging. He has been in training sessions when the temperature was 15 below zero.

    Doesn't seem like Red Stripe beer, Bob Marley and jerk chicken are a good fit for this Jamaican.

    "The food has been challenging," Ralph said. "The people in general, it's a little racist. You don't want to encounter these people. It has been a lot different, a shock. The style of play is a lot different than MLS."
     
  20. partycentral

    partycentral Member

    Nov 10, 2003
    Naperville
    So if they release him, do we get first dibs on getting him back?
     
  21. genpabloescobar

    Feb 17, 2002
    Depends on which set of rules MLS will be using that week.
     
  22. Thomas Flannigan

    Feb 26, 2001
    Chicago
    Good point. Some years ago Robert Penn Warren was doing a Q and A with an audience and a woman asked him what the one of his literary characters meant. He replied that when he wrote it two knew the answer to that question, he and God, but now, only God Knows.
    I think he was talking about MLS "rules". Lack of transparency and the perception that MLS is unfair, favoring some teams, has hurt the league.

    My guess is Damani could come back to the Fire, a la Razov or Zack, after a foreign tenure that had some bad points at the very least. But he could go to New England, which has a Jamaican on the roster and a large Jamaican population, larger than Chicago, within a certain radius. Damani played very well with Andy Williams. I return to my earlier point, the buddy system or some attempt at making the player feel at home, is a big factor.
    Happiness counts a lot. Landon Donovan is a top player on the USMNT but things never seem to work out in Germany.
    DAMANI WON'T YOU PLEASE COME HOME?
     
  23. scaryice

    scaryice Member

    Jan 25, 2001
  24. bing1985

    bing1985 Member

    Jun 14, 2004
    Near West ChiSuburbs
    mmmmm.

    First of, I agree it's not going to happen. But, watching him play the last two matches with the Reggae Boyz I'm not sure I'm that eager to get him. He was a non-factor in both games.

    I hope for his sake that he can turn it around in Russia. But we've already got enough forwards that dribble into triple-teams and fail to get off shots....IMO.
     

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