World Cup 2010 a family affair (Feature)
By David Hein Jun 11, 2010, 4:16 GMT
Hamburg - Family will play a role at the 2010 World Cup as Slovakia and the United States both have fathers coaching their sons, three nations have brothers in their squads and one set of half-brothers will face off for different nations.
Vladimir Weiss was already a well known in Slovakian football history, but the legacy grew in the buildup to South Africa 2010 as Weiss coached the nation to its first-ever World Cup appearance as an independent nation.
Helping the coach - at 45 the youngest team boss in South Africa - was his 20-year-old son Vladimir Weiss, who plays for Manchester City.
To add to the confusion is the fact that the coach's father is also named Vladimir Weiss and played for the Czechoslovakia national team, including at the 1964 Olympics when his son was born.
Weiss II, who played for Czechoslovakia at the 1990 World Cup, never feared calls of nepotism when he added Weiss III to the Slovak side for South Africa.
'I was warned because there were reports that I was doing him a favour. But everyone could see that he deserved his World Cup nomination,' the coach said.
The Weisses are not the only father-son combo at South Africa.
U.S. coach Bob Bradley has in his ranks his son Michael Bradley of Borussia Moenchengladbach.
'Michael is a professional player, and he understands as well as anyone how you earn respect in a group. When we're at work, that comes first,' said father Bradley.
'He's my dad, and he's the coach. I'm a player, and I'm his son. There's not much more to it, really,' said the younger Bradley.
But fathers coaching their sons at a World Cup is not unprecedented as Italian boss Cesare Maldini had his son Paulo as captain at the 1998 World Cup.
The World Cup also has seen its fair share of brothers in the past. And South Africa 2010 is no different.
Kolo and Yaya Toure are playing for Ivory Coast and Paraguay have the Barreto brothers Edgar and Diego.
Honduras brothers Wilson and Johny Palacios will undoubtedly have heavy hearts despite helping the nation to its first finals since 1982.
The pair's brother Edwin was kidnapped in October 2007 and held for ransom before eventually being confirmed dead in May 2009.
One of the strangest family instances in World Cup history is the half-brother duo of Germany's Jerome Boateng and Kevin Prince Boateng of Ghana.
Both have the same Ghanaian father with different German mothers. In fact Kevin Prince is the great-nephew of Helmut Rahn, who scored the winning goal for Germany in the 1954 World Cup final.
Jerome said it's a strange feeling knowing that Kevin Prince is playing for Ghana and not Germany - especially since they will face off against one another in their teams' final Group D match.
'I knew early on that I wanted to play for Germany. After all I grew up here and like the people, the country and the mentality,' said Jerome.
The half-brothers' relationship went sour after Kevin Prince's foul against Michael Ballack forced the German national team captain out of the World Cup. In the aftermath, Jerome was not supportive of Kevin Prince, who then cut off all contact to Jerome and does not expect to talk to him until they square off on June 23 in Johannesburg.
'He said 'Everyone goes their own way.' And I said 'We've been doing that for a long time,' said Jerome Boateng.
There was nearly another set of brothers in South Africa but Mexican coach Javier Aguirre decided against nominating top talent Jonathan Dos Santos of Barcelona, a move which heavily disappointed Galatasaray striker Giovani Dos Santos.
Among the other family connections in South Africa are cousins Samir and Jasmin Handanovic of Slovenia and the Cameroon uncle-nephew duo of Rigobert and Alex Song.
In addition, Argentina national team coach Diego Maradona is the father-in-law of Sergio Aguero while Dutch midfielder Mark van Bommel is married to his coach Bert van Maarwijk's daughter.
With both Aguero and van Bommel making their national team bosses grandfathers, another generation of World Cup family connections could be in the works.