Tuesday, 23 September 2008

2010 World Cup: Some Reprieve

After enjoying the Beijing Olympics, the spotlight’s now been turning slowly as we start making the countdown to the 2010 World Cup.
Deliberately I have avoided naming South Africa as it becomes apparent that the country may not be ready to host the tournament which brings 32 of the world’s best in football-soccer if you’re American.
Some outstanding issues have been the security issues which continue to stick out like a sore thumb, construction’s 6 months behind schedule and the cancellation of two of the proposed stadiums and also the upcoming elections in 2009 even after the infighting in ANC seems to be simmering in some uneasy undercurrents.
It would also be important to note that fan attendance might be a consideration though they may get support from other African countries which will most likely see on of the largest movement of middle-class movement down South especially the football-mad, well at least for the 2 months.
Another factor which I have not seen highlighted is the fact that almost all World Cups have been held in June/July period and if I’m not wrong that time it’s usually chilly down South. The last few years has seen some drastic drops in temperatures making it snow even in some unfamiliar places. Maybe most cities will not endure such conditions but then again this is Africa.
FIFA officials made a visit early this month and Sepp Blatter who’s been advocating for the continent to hold its first World Cup gave them some reprieve for now. But even he’s not putting anything to chance and is rumoured to have put at least 3 other countries (almost none from Africa) on stand-by. For now though, he is working with the Azanians and even announced 2 free tickets each for all construction workers working at the stadium sites as a morale boosting effort to avoid perennial boycotts which have staggered progress in stadium construction.
But even with all these issues bubbling under, South Africa’s been known for its resilience and also has some of the best infrastructure in Africa. It also has some diversity in cultures which may work in its favour in welcoming different people from different parts of the world.
As we enjoy the ‘spirit of Africa’ advert on SuperSport as we watch European leagues let’s also work with the possibility of Africa missing out on the one chance which may help elevate its sports hosting stature.

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