Goodbye World Cup

12 07 2010

After years of planning and getting our ‘act’ together, South Africa’s month of glory has come and gone so quickly, it’s hard to imagine the 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament was ever held here.

And yes, I’m proud of us. Proud of South Africa – proudly South African. We didn’t make it to the finals (although perhaps we would’ve had a chance if the ref wasn’t so stupid and gave our team a red card when in actual fact the other team was offside, but oh well), yet as a host nation we nestled ourselves into the hearts of the fans from all across the wide world who made the trip over here to support their various teams. What’s not to love in South Africa? Beaches, mountains, beautiful scenery, fan parks, the fan walk, incredible stadiums, lovely lively people, and so much more I’ll stop right here before I get too lyrical.

I just hope the tourist have now dispelled the myth that lions walk in our streets, or that we own them as pets *laugh*

A while ago, while on that ‘road trip’ with my mum and dad, I heard the newscaster on the radio say that, according to some or other poll that was conducted amongst those visiting here from other countries, South African was awarded 9 out of 10 for friendliness and hospitality; also, the crime “wasn’t as bad” as the tourists – and, yes, even those native to the country – had thought it would be. Now isn’t that a relief; all we needed was our bad crime rate to hit us right where it hurts during such an important time in our history.

I know the police force also did their bit, working twelve-hour shifts at a time, and having to be on constant alert for any trouble. They’re even on standby 24/7, and I know this for a fact since my father is a (video) cameraman and captain in the force. Even after working one of those shifts, arriving home at 9AM/ 9:30AM, he didn’t complain when they phoned him two hours later to work again (on his day off); he went to work, came back home, did some gardening… and then they phoned him again to go out and work. The hours were long and the shifts sometimes unpleasant, and still my father did his job with pride – because it’s what he loves. And because you reap the rewards of hard work later on.

The World Cup month is over now. Yesterday was the last day, the hours counting down to the ultimate ‘battle’, that of the final between Spain and the Netherlands. I know that many South Africans decided to support the Netherlands, what with our ties with them, going back to our roots/ origin and all that happy crappy. Although I’m not partial to soccer and would like to remain unbiased, I had a gut feeling that Spain would win the Cup. They played a brilliant game against Portugal, and they succeeded to defeat the mighty German team… and in a manner, that’s great, too, because can you imagine how a final between Germany and the Netherlands would have been? I’ll tell you what: one epic battle – a battle for revenge, unforgiving, stemming from feelings back in the past, and wanting to ‘resolve’ the conflict once and for all (metaphorically, of course) on the soccer field. But that was avoided, so let’s not go there.

I know that a lot of people are upset due to some or other octopus – Paul, I think his name is – who seems to predict the outcome of the matches. Not the score, of course; just who the winning team will be. He’s become a bit of a prophet, his predictions having been on the ball every time… but come on, people, seriously? A psychic octopus?!

People truly believe in the strangest things…

Hopefully the vuvuzelas will stop blaring about everywhere, invading my eardrums and getting on my nerves. I still don’t really ‘get’ the point of the vuvuzelas, because they really don’t mean anything, they’re not a representation of South Africa (at least not from my perspective), and all they do is make one heck of a noise so you cannot hear anything else.

Other than that, I am honestly glad that we were granted the opportunity to host the World Cup, and that we did so with style – in a manner that foreigners, hopefully, won’t forget and change their opinion of this little ‘undeveloped’/ ‘underdeveloped’ neck of the woods.

So go on, South Africa: wave your flag, and be proud of who we are… let’s just try to keep it that way now that the festivities are over.

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