Friday, 12 June 2009

Follow Follow

The clock is ticking and it's now only a year until South Africa hosts the 2010 Football World Cup. 'Must admit, when we were bidding to host the games, I was really against it. I didn't - and still don't - see the logic of spending so much money on a sporting event when our education system, correctional facilities, health care system and police force are in such desperate need of funding. I know that the World Cup creates thousands of job opportunities, but surely that's a temporary thing. Once the event is over, what are all those builders and vendors going to do? Yeah, I'd really prefer to see the money go towards education (which will alleviate crime and poverty in the long run), health care, the police force and correctional facilities. I believe if the country focuses our time money on those areas, the country will gradually grow from strength to strength, and we can curb the awful crime, poverty and unemployment that plagues the nation. But the fact of the matter remains, we are hosting the World Cup next year, so there's no point in griping about the coulda, woulda, shouldas.

I'm not a sports fan. I couldn't care less about who the Stormers are playing and cricket sends me into a spontaneous stupor. But if I had to choose a sport, it would be football. (And tennis too - that's often good to watch.) Growing up in a typical Brit family with two brothers, I was pretty much surrounded by football. I remember way back in the day, when I was very young, I'd kick around a football with my dad and brothers in the lazy late afternoon sun. Both my brothers played football at school and at a club, so I'd often to be dragged along in the evening to watch their practices, or early on Saturday mornings when they'd play against other clubs. Now that they're all grown up, the boys no longer play footie but it's impossible to visit my folks without seeing and hearing a game on TV. In fact, the only reason my dad got DSTV was so that he could watch the football. Poor mum. So my dad and one brother spend a good portion of their time watching football on the telly while my youngest brother - who lives in the UK - often spends his weekends attending live matches supporting his favourite team while proudly dressed in his team's colours.

Hey, you still there? Sorry for the boring family history. Didn't mean to send you to sleep. It was just my long, roundabout way of saying that I'm actually looking forward to next year's World Cup. I've even got some tickets! Two earlier games and the Cape Town semi-final, which I think is going to be pretty damn awesome! Like I mentioned earlier, South Africa is spending a ridiculous amount of money in preparation of the World Cup - money that could perhaps have been put to better use. That said, I'm sure a good portion of the money comes from sponsorships. South Africans are quite divided on how they feel about the upcoming games. Some feel that it's going to be a humiliating embarrassment and that there's no way we'll meet our targets. But others, like me, feel that a lot of progress has been made and so I have little doubt that we'll probably end up doing a good job. It may cost us an arm and a leg, but it'll be good.

While some of the country's existing stadia are being upgraded, other stadia are being built from scratch. Being huge projects, the building started a good couple of years ago and now, as we draw closer to D-day, they're really beginning to take shape.

Soweto's Soccer City is probably the most African-themed of all the stadia - made to look like an enormous calabash.

Durban's Senzangakhona Stadium is set to be pretty magnificent, complete with a panoramic sky arch.
But being a Cape Town girl, I'm really excited to see how the new Green Point stadium is going to turn out. It's been dogged by controversy since the outset, but now that the finish line is in sight, it's really looking good. I pilfered these images off of a City of Cape Town website - they show the progress of the stadium as it's slowly being resurrected. Photography is by Bruce Sutherland.

This was taken 2 years ago, before construction on the stadium started
Making good progress

Some of the construction crew

Getting there...

A job not recommended for those wary of heights

A typical Cape Town morning, sporting a stadium shrouded in a misty blanket of cloud
(pic courtesy of
And if everything goes according to plan, this is what the Green Point Stadium is going to look like, some day soon...

Nice, eh?

So you see, I'm looking forward to the 2010 Football World Cup, and I really do believe everything's going to turn out just fine. You may think I'm being naive, and perhaps you'd be right. Who knows. Either way, only time will tell. But I've got a good feeling about this. Only 363 days to go. And counting...

P.S. Oh jeez, I almost forgot. There's another upside to the World Cup but in this case, the pictures speak a thousand words :)

Oh yummy
(Pic courtesy of The Times)

1 comment:

Charles said...

On behalf of all football fans, I must tell you... we don't mind what brings you to the games, as long as you're supporting it. Even if it is only to see those 6-pack-torso-having superstars. :)

Happy Heppie!!!!!


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