Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Confederations Cup: Labour of Love for South Africa

Vuvuzela...crime and the samba boys seem to be the main headlines from Africa's 1st Confederations Cup. There are many things that we can write about but from the pitch I have watched top notch games, better than some international competitive games. Maybe I'm biased here being African, but it seem the Confed Cup is finally becoming more than a formality for most teams.
Logistics and infrastruct
ural problems aside, South Africa has shown it can hold its own in hosting a major sports events. Though FIFA chief Sepp Blatter had to make available free tickets, given the prior 'non-significance' given to the event, I can't place too much credence to that argument. The security issue, I see some sensationalisation with that too but the SA authorities need take that into consideration. Pres. Zuma had better arm his people with enough 'umshini' by 2010. They can't repeat such incidences like what happened to Egypt and Brazil players however much hotel authorities may play down the issue.
The European kings made it known their intention to win the Confed Cup (and they are my favs), qualifying with 3 clean sheets.
They seem to building strength upon strength and the game against South Africa was my best example of their tactical choices. Considering they are even without their top midfielders in Senna and Iniesta, any team ought to shiver at the thought of meeting them.
The Brazilians on the other hand survived an onslaught from the Egyptians and they have seemed shaky at the back but they have devastated opponents with their counter-attacks.
(Image courtesy of Adidas)
The Final for me should be Spain vs Brazil though Spain vs South Africa would be ideal for ticket sales and acceptability across the continent. But then again, this is football and anything can happen. Come Sunday and we shall be crowning new Confederations champions !
Dempsey breaks Spanish defence a second time- Image courtesy of Getty Images

US beats Spain 2-0; well again against the formbook, Obama's boys did the unthinkable and reached the Final of this unpredictable tournament. I eat humble pie for not even considering them as favourites. Now my critics are piling attacks saying it's the grass that does the talking on any particular day.
On a positive note, this creates a fan-base wider than the usual European audience. If winning the ConFed Cup is bound to make the game more appealing to the Americans then let it be. More incentive for Pres. Obama to come to Africa next year if the US qualifies for the World Cup...

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