Adidas and FIFA have unveiled the new Official Match Ball for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa at the group draw ceremony for the finals, and the ball is now known to be an 8 panel ball designed to be rounder and with a more accurate flight path than previous constructions.
The Jabulani takes its name from a Zulu word that means to celebrate, rejoice, jubilate or bring happiness, and has had its 8 3D panels put into place using a thermal bonding process, with a specially devised grip adorning the surface. The 11 colors are intended to represent both the 11 on-field players in each team as well as the 11 official languages of South African, themselves coming from the 11 tribes that make up the country.
Adidas's previous match ball for the 2006 European Championships had been designed to produce extra swerve and spin, and several national team goalkeepers had raised concerns, including Petr Cech of the Czech Republic, Edwin van der Sar who was between the sticks for The Netherlands, and Ricardo Pereira who was in goal for Portugal.
Initial feedback for the Jabulani seems positive, with England and Chelsea FC midfielder Frank Lampard describing it as "a very strong ball, true to hit," and Brazilian Real Madrid forward Kaka pleased with the type of contact players can experience with it.
Adidas told the press that Petr Cech had tried the new Jabulani ball and said that "you can feel the energy coming towards you, like a shot." After having described Adidas's 2006 Match Ball as being unpredictable, this assessment seems to be an improvement, as well as an indication that the new ball has been manufactured for increased power as well as control.
The ball is expected to retail for €119.95 / $149.99.Reuse content