World Cup fever in Africa

Monday 7th of June 2010, 19.27h

On the 15th of May 2004, the day South Africa won the right to stage the 2010 Football World Cup, the countdown read 2,219 days. Today, as you drive into the centre of Cape Town the big digital clock reads 4 days! The biggest football tournament on our planet is here, on the African continent for the first time ever and as you can imagine the atmosphere is electrifying. Everywhere you look you see flags of the 32 nations that will take part in this years World Cup. The newspapers, the radio, the television, the children at the schools, my fellow colleagues at work, just about everybody is talking about the World Cup.

It is amazing that the Rainbow nation are hosting the 2010 World Cup considering the circumstances the country found itself in not so long ago. From 1964 – 1992 South Africa was banned from all official sport competitions due to their Apartheid ruling, meaning it has only been 18 years since South Africa have been allowed to take part in any official sport competitions. I am sure that 18 years ago not one South African person would have believed that his/her country would get to host a football World Cup in 2010. As you can imagine, everybody is hysterical that the World Cup is here in Africa, with Kick-Off in 4 days time.

There is no doubt that this is going to be a stern test for South Africa, on the pitch as well as off it. They have already jumped the first hurdle by having everything ready in time for the World Cup to commence (stadiums, public transport and other necessary infrastructure) when there were doubts as to whether it would all be ready in time for the World Cup to start. A lot has also been said about crime and the safety of the people in South Africa during the World Cup. The world is watching and this tournament is a great way for South Africa and it’s people to show what they are really like and in the process prove their critics wrong.

The South African government have spent millions of pounds on ensuring the stadiums are ready and the infrastructure is in place on time for the World Cup to run smoothly. An event of this magnitude can do wonders to an economy of a country, as was so evident in 1992 with the Olympics in Barcelona. However, if the headlines during the World Cup are about shootings, stabbings and rape, which is a concern out here, it could do even more damage to the reputation of this wonderful country.

There is already a big debate as to why the South African government have decided to spend so much money building state of the art football stadiums when they could have invested the money on the South African citizens that live in the Townships in what I can only say are awful conditions. The other day we drove past one of the Townships on the outskirts of Cape Town and from a distance I witnessed boys and women doing their necessities on the grass in a public area behind their shack houses, which makes me assume that they do not have a toilet to be able to do it in their own house. As soon as I saw this and realised what I was seeing it sent shivers down my spine. The debate as to how the World Cup can help these people in the long run is very heated and only time will tell as to whether it was a good decision to spend so much money on football stadiums. There is a huge responsibility on this World Cup to be a success, for the future of this country and its continent.

On the pitch, it will take a miracle for South Africa to win the World Cup. Having spoken to a lot of people out here regarding expectations, most people will be delighted if they manage to get past the group stage, if they don’t, they will be the first host nation in the history of the World Cup not get to the knock out stages! On Friday I will be at the Fan Zone where they will be showing the first match on a big screen with 27,000 other fans cheering on Bafana Bafana (what they call their soccer team out here) hoping they can do one over the Mexicans.🙂

For me, the World Cup that starts on Friday will be my third World Cup since I have been in South Africa. All the schools we are coaching are coming to the end of their school year (schools will be closed during the World Cup as it is their winter season) and thus have set up a World Cup competition involving the entire school. I have been fortunate enough to have been invited to organise two World Cups at two different schools, Garden Village, which was today and St John’s, which was this past Friday. A few weeks ago each class were designated a country and together with their teachers they have been learning about the history and traditions of their assigned countries. On the day of the World Cup, all the children had to come to school in the colours of their country and in the morning of the World Cup each class had to do a presentation they had rehearsed over the past few weeks to the rest of the school. The presentations consisted in lots of dancing and singing, African style. After the presentations the classes and countries played a match against each other with the entire school on the sidelines cheering on the boys and girls and blowing their Vuvuzelas, it made for a truly eventful and special two days.

This past weekend I also managed to go to the Akon concert with the other volunteers in the house. Akon calls himself the Son of Africa so the concert was themed on Africa and of course the World Cup. Akon really did put on a great show and it was probably the best concert I have ever been to.

A couple of days ago I got another pleasant surprise. Patricia a fellow volunteer from Switzerland, also living in the volunteer house, managed to get a couple of tickets to the Spain – Switzerland game in Durban on the 16th of June. This means that next week I will be doing a little bit of traveling around South Africa, going to Durban on a road trip stopping at various places like Port Elizabeth on the way up and then I will be flying back to Cape Town the day after the Spain game as I have to be here in Cape Town in time for the England – Algeria game which is the other game I will be going to at this World Cup. Next week will be hectic and I am hoping truly memorable, just like the past 4 and a half weeks.

South Africa, the world is at your feet for the next 5 weeks, please do not let your people down.

15 Comments

Filed under Africa

15 responses to “World Cup fever in Africa

  1. Wow! I love what are they doing at school! Those are such wonderful and motivating activities!!!
    You will truly enjoy yourself being able to watch LIVE 2 WC matches!!!
    I am really happy for you, big one, you are so mich enjoying THE experience.
    Hope we can catch up soon.

  2. Btw… BREAKING NEWS. IT’S OUT.
    http://ow.ly/i/1Yf1

  3. Oh I did not about this mishap with south Africa. that it was restricted to participate in any kind of sports. But the good thing is that now every thing is OK. now they fully permitted to play any game. they must have to prove themselves in FIFA world cup 2010.

  4. Han robado a 3 periodistas en Sudáfrica… a punta de pistola, mientras dormían! http://www.marca.com/2010/06/09/futbol/mundial_2010/1276062993.html

  5. Ronnie

    So happy for you Dan. Every time I read your blogs I feel the same excitment you are feeling……..what a nice feeling! Looking forward to the England game but especially the Spain one when I will have a beer with a tapa for you.Take care Dan.Love you Papa

  6. ferriol

    Hey perico!!
    You know what team i am going to support for that spain vs switzerland, don´t you? lol

    Very interesting reading all your articles man! Keep going, very nice to read and hear from you mate!

    Here in the office all is okay. Missing you lots mate! Mike and Rob doing very well in London, and here keep going as usual.

    Little Pau is getting bigger….6 kilitos so far and nearly 60 cms…behaves quite well, don´t cry to much…and on sunday, i am taking the little boy to new camp (barça elections) for first time.

    Cesc deal is very close…..but you will get in return yaya touré…not a bad deal!

    Take lots of care man! Look after the little kids!!!! And enjoy the fottie!!!

  7. marichu

    Hello honey,
    You transmit an energy which is so contagious and exciting we seem to be in SA with you !!!
    Well, the games are starting tomorrow and the whole world is watching….your father will be glued to the television 24/7 till it all finishes!!!
    Yes, its true that the government has spent a lot of money on hosting the world cup and a lot of people are living in appalling conditions but sometimes you need to take different steps to change the way of life. The vitality and feeling of joy of people captured on television is showing the world a unity that is far more productive than money. Hopefully the benefits generated from the world cup will be employed for the good of the people.
    Unfortunately there is still an enormous amount of discrimination and in occassions such as this, we are all part of a big family, no barriers or boundaries…. for a short time ignorance is eradicated and we are all equals. We tend to forget that we will, one day, be judged by our deeds.
    Anyway sweetie just keep teaching those kids through football discipline, patience, tolerance, perseverance and above all the capacity to love.
    Take good care and dont forget for a second how much we love you and miss you
    love you zillions
    xxxxxxxxxxxxmama

  8. Pingback: All Around the World News

  9. anais

    OMG DANNNN you went to an akoon concerttttttttttttttttt!!!! soooo jealousssssssssssss….
    and being able to go see 2 live games WOW what an experienceee.. u deserve it!!!!! unfortunatly i cant ring u anymore as they are tracing calls now and chucking people who call outside of the hotel🙂 dan im soo proud of u!!!! and i still cant get over u goign to an akon concert.. he rocks!! love u dan xxx

  10. Hi Cheap Flights to Africa – Thanks for your comment on the blog. Yes indeed, South Africa really do have to prove themselves at the World Cup. They have the crowd in their favour so I am sure they will do their best.

    Hi Pa, what a disaster that Robert Green is!! England will never win the World Cup with him as a goalkeeper! Was watching the game in a bar full of Americans. Next game against Algeria should be different, will be surrounded by England fans at the stadium! Hope you have been enjoying the World Cup so far. Missing you.

    Hi Ferriol, so good to hear from you! I am really happy that little Pu is doing great. I bet he will have changed so much since the last time I saw him when he was just born. Treasure these moments perico. You will be so proud of taking him to the nou camp for the first time. Although if he wants to support Arsenal instead of Barca when he is older I don’t want you to brainwash him🙂 By the way, is Rossel still favourite to become President? From what I have seen the Cesc deal is close but Barca don’t want to pay what he is worth, I think he might be staying for another season, fingers crossed! You should be supporting Spain by the way, it is practically the Barca team, if they win the World Cup you can then say Barca are the best in the world!! Speak to you soon my friend.

    Hi All around the World News, glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for the Trackback🙂

    Hi Ana, I thought you would be jealous about me going to the Akon concert. I was wondering why you hadn’t called in a while, no worries, make sure you don’t get chucked out before you leave so that you get a good review. By the way, have you not received a postcard at the hotel? I sent you one a while ago, if you haven’t got it ask around see if someone else has it. Love you lots.

    • anais

      hi dan.. nope havnt recieved anything as of yet.. did u put anais and call center underneath??? x

    • anais

      after all the trouble im having with my landlord and being stressed and pissed off.. u have just made my day and night.. !! i have just recieved the sweetest postcard that i will keep forever!!! cant wait for our hols in malta love u lots dan.. hope ur taking care xxxx

  11. Hi Ana, glad you got the postcard. Spoke to mama and papa yesterday, they explained about the landlord. Hope you get it all sorted soon. All good out here, the football results could be better though. Take care Ans.

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