I love football. Football is life. Football is the beautiful game. I am getting rushes of adrenalin to the head already just thinking about the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
In 2010 the entire pumped-up and emotive football world will descend in a riotous show of bliss upon majestic South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Will South Africa be ready for them?
In 2006 FIFA chief Sepp Blatter made it very clear that there was to be no doubt about the 2010 FIFA World Cup being held in South Africa: «Plan A… Plan B… Plan C is that the 2010 World Cup will be staged in South Africa». The only contingency plan that would see South Africa not host the cup would be due to a natural catastrophe. In the same year, on behalf of Blatter in an address to the South African Parliment FIFA communications director Markus Seigler reinforced the notion that South Africa is doing just fine: «You are absolutely on schedule, you’re absolutely on track. You’re even more advanced than the Germans were four years ago…Any doubts are completely unfair. This country – and I know this country – is absolutely capable.» Seigler capped it off with acknowledging that the previous host, Germany, had also faced adversity and added: «At least South Africa’s economy is growing – Germany’s is not.»
In 2008 the rumour mill has not stopped churning out doubts about whether South Africa will host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Word on the street is that the 2010 World Cup preparations have been plagued by a host of problems that could compromise vital deadlines. Stadium construction delays, striking workers, security fears, transport problems and the possibility of power outages are running rampant.
Port Elizabeth stadium is one of the main venues in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and is yet to be completed. Next year’s Confederations Cup, a precursor to the competition for the World Cup, was slated to take place in the stadium but has since been pulled out of the Cup.
In an interview in Die Welt newspaper published on Monday July 14th, 2008 Franz Beckenbauer confirmed the event would be held in South Africa: «We in the FIFA executive are doing everything to have the World Cup take place in South Africa, even if we have to shut an eye every now and then. But I am sure that the World Cup in South Africa will take place.»
However, Beckenbauer was out of the loop when it came to any knowledge about FIFA chief Sepp Blatter’s actively searching for countries that would be ale to host the championship in the case of a natural catastrophe. In an interview with Sky News Beckenbauer explained: «Honestly, it was a surprise for me. I myself sit in FIFA’s executive and even I don’t know who are Blatter’s candidates.»
Whether the public is getting a load of double-speak about the whole affair is debatable. But on the bright side, it has been announced that vuvuzelas will not be banned.
Vuvuzelas, sometimes referred to as ‘lepatatas’ are air horns approximately one metre in length made from plastic and commonly seen at football matches all over the world. The name is said to originate from the Zulu for «making noise» although this is hotly disputed. Others say the name originates from the fact it makes a «vuvu» sound when blown, or even comes from the township slang related to the word for «shower».
Kaizer Chiefs supporters’ spokesperson Saddam Maake who is credited with popularising the instrument was overjoyed to hear that the vuvuzela ban had been lifted: «When we got the message that vuvuzelas were going to be banned, we were disappointed. We knew it had become part of our culture and offered free entertainment during matches. I felt over the moon when I heard about the lifting of the ban.»
Critics of the instrument feel that the noise detracts from the game, but Maake explains that people need to be educated about how to use the vuvuzelas correctly: «They have to know that you cannot blow it during moments of silence and when they blow it during the game they should do it to make rhythmic music.»
The first FIFA World Cup was held in 1930 and has gained strength from year to year for every four years, halted only twice in1942 and 1946 by World War II.
In the eighteen FIFA tournaments that have been held seven nations have won the title. Brazil has the most World Cups team, having won the tournament five times. The current World Champions, Italy, follow with four titles, while Germany holds three. The other former champions are Uruguay (winners of the inaugural tournament) and Argentina with two titles each. England and France hold one title each.
The most recent World Cup Finals were held in Germany, where Italy was crowned the champion after beating France in the final.
We’re already half way there. Those two long years are going to creep up on us and we will be looking for cheap ticket deals and packages to South Africa sooner than we think with our hearts pumping like they were shocked by 10,000 volts in anticipation of the spectacular event that the 2010 FIFA World Cup is going to be. Bring on the joy.