This article is for people who are curious about how football is perceived in South Africa, how the 2010 World Cup will change things in South Africa, why crime won’t be an issue and whether Benni MCarthy will ever play for SA again (all from a South African’s point of view).
Football or soccer depending on where you come from is very big in South Africa. It is played in virtually every school in the country. It is the country’s biggest sport before rugby and cricket.
There is immense talent but like other countries in Africa the infrastructure is poor in most areas and politics always comes to the scene. The soccer league in South Africa is of poor quality; The PSL (Premier Soccer League) is very one dimensional, based on attack, skills and the ability to out-dribble your opponent.
When FIFA announced the world cup would be staged in SA people went mad. Players were looking forward to playing in the worlds premier soccer event at home, Fans were relishing at watching the greats of football in their own backyard and everyone thought how great the World Cup would be for South Africa as a whole but then came the negative publicity SA received in the media – the crime rate is too high, tourists would be scared to come to SA, stadiums wont be ready etc.
The media around the world continue to say that FIFA might move the World Cup to Australia, England or the US. I believe that the world cup will be staged in South Africa. SA has hosted the rugby and cricket world cups which were both successful, SA has hosted the world summit in 2002 and is going to host the Twenty/20 Cricket world cup in September. Crime affected very few tourists during all the World Cups; players and members of the respective national teams were guarded 24/7 and the personal safety of tourists were looked after to the best of the abilities of the government. I believe that the government will employ extra policemen to guard hotels, places of interest and of course stadiums like they did when the country hosed the 2003 cricket world cup.
Although I am starting to doubt whether all the stadiums will be completed in time but i do have faith in the building companies and hopefully another Wembley will be avoided.
Will Benni McCarthy play for South Africa again?
For those of you who don’t know Benni has decided not to play for South Africa until changes have been made within SAFA (South African Football Association) . Benni wants an apology for the way he has been treated by SAFA and wont play again until his demands have been met. He hasn’t performed well in South African colours but he is the best player we have.
I don’t see SAFA apologising. This will make Blackburn fans happy no doubt, as their top scorer will be available in January when the African cup of nations will be on, that is if Benni is still at Blackburn next season.
Ed’s note: Also read this – South Africa seeks to share 2010 World Cup