As I sit here by the braai, with a locally-brewed wife and beer by my side, I am filled with hope, positivity and optimism about the future here in SA. And, for once, it seems I’m not the only one.
After a wholly-unsolicited ‘I’m going out of my way to tell your viewers this’ quote “Let me tell you, South Africa is going to be ready and it’s going to be a great World Cup” from a Daily Express football writer (recently returned from these parts) on Sky Sports yesterday, Piers Edwards of the BBC has come out with a brilliant blog telling the world the other side of all the negative BS and hightlighting the double standards of the international press:
When I asked the Australian delegation if they had any security concerns, they almost laughed in my face. Thankfully, they politely grinned instead while explaining how their sports stars have been coming here for years without any problems.
Indeed, their cricketers came over for last year’s IPL and Champions Trophy and there was great irony in both tournaments’ relocation to South Africa after security concerns in their original host nations – India and Pakistan (and wasn’t it strange how South Africa’s crime issues were ignored when the IPL changed venue?).
And it is, of course, the media that drives and fuels the negativity.
Why? I’m not sure. Perhaps they’ve just lost the ability to actually write anything positive anymore. Maybe no-one would believe it.
While English-led questions about Bafokeng dominated Fifa’s news conference on Tuesday, it was interesting that not one Brazilian journalist, and there were a few there, asked about the five-time champions’ hotel – whose completion date is as late as England’s. In fact, the endless focus on Bafokeng drove Fifa’s urbane General Secretary spare.
“If the question is ‘could we host the World Cup tomorrow?’, the answer is ‘no’,” Jerome Valcke snapped. “Soccer City isn’t ready [and] we have 700,000 tickets still to sell, but we will be ready.”
Valcke is right. SA is not ready to host the World Cup. But that’s actually just fine, because the World Cup doesn’t start until June 11th and right now, we’re still in February. If the World Cup were to start tomorrow, we’d have failed. But it doesn’t, so we haven’t.
And positive quotes from big names like Marcello Lippi:
“I’m expecting a great tournament, in fantastic stadiums, with perfect security,” says Italy’s 2006 World Cup-winning coach, who was here for last year’s Confederations Cup. “I’m not expecting anything negative.”
and Germany coach Joachim Low:
“I see the happiness in the locals’ eyes and their sense of excitement,” he said. “They can’t wait for the World Cup and South Africa will do everything for this World Cup – that’s what I am feeling.”
being reported are a welcome change from the usual doom and gloom that has surrounded the build up to this tournament.
But even as I read the comments below the post (and they’re worth a read), there were those in there who are still stubbornly waiting and hoping that South Africa will fail, still spreading their misinformation (CAPADONNA is a good case in point – WTF is he talking about??) and striving to pollute the excitement and belief around the World Cup. Piers has a message for them:
After 80 years of the World Cup, Africa – whether some Europeans like it or not – deserves its chance to host the finals: and had you decided against coming here because of the horror stories (rather than financial restrictions), when the media changes its tune from negativity to fawning praise as the World Cup begins, where would you rather be?
I know my answer…