It’s a traditional Maori war dance performed by warriors to intimidate enemies before battle. It’s a proud sporting tradition dating back more than a century. It scared the shit out of James Harden during last year’s basketball World Cup.
Alas, New Zealand’s Haka — basically, homicidal cheerleading — is not going to be performed at the Women’s World Cup this month. FIFA has apparently banned it.
What, menacing rivals, is unsporting behavior now? What a sad, politically-correct, let’s all shake hands before kick-off kind of world do we live in?
“We used to do it back in the day, but we don’t any more, we’re not allowed,” midfielder Betsy Hassett told reporters. “It’s some FIFA rules we’re not allowed to do it any more. It is what it is, we would like to do it, but it’s fine.”
Come on FIFA, don’t you want videos of the women’s World Cup to go viral? Have you no interest in getting on SportsCenter? Let’s face it, nothing else the New Zealand team is likely to do during the Women’s World Cup is going to get them any mainstream attention.
It’s such an important tradition in rugby that opponents have been fined for disrespecting, though it’s not a significant part of soccer culture.
Still, there’s presumably nothing to stop the Football Ferns from doing it after matches, as happened in 2011.