Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The (sorry) road to a South Africa

As we are this week approaching a long list of exciting national qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup, I remain unconvinced of South Africa as the venue for the world cup.
The main reason is because South Africa is not a footballing nation and will never really get excited about a world cup (even though they are told they should; whoever gets excited by order!?!?): letting them host a world cup is like giving your best piece of steak to a vegetarian.
However, I must add to this the xenophobia that sadly remains in South African society, together with crime, and now I must add government policy: South Africa refused visa to the Dalai Lama, who was to attend a peace-conference in South Africa, in order not to damage relations to China.
While no direct linkage to football, one is forced to consider what would happen if some country qualifies with whom South Africa doesn't want to damage relations with: Georgia not to damage relations with Russia? Taiwan?

As late as December 2008, there were rumours that due to the fact that South Africa was not meeting organisational deadlines, Spain was being lined up to host the 2010 World Cup instead. Sepp Blatter had to come out and say that this was not true.

Sorry, but I just don't believe South Africa is able to organise a succesful World Cup, and I sincerely hope the teams that are playing this week will be playing somewhere else in 2010.

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