Spain are World Champs, but Congrats to South Africa for a Successful World Cup

Now that the World Cup has ended, I expected lots of patronising and negative comments highlighting every single problem or thing that did not go according to plan. However, I want to say a great big CONGRATULATIONS to South Africa for hosting this marvellous World Cup. Here’s a good piece in the Guardian about the success of this tournament:

I have written a number of articles about the World Cup. Here is my post mortem of the tournament:

Football wise, it was not the greatest tournament.  The teams who reached the latter stages were those who played conservatively with restraint, and with one striker. The final was a dreadful game with some shocking tackles. Finals are always tense affairs but watching Holland –v- Spain was like watching a horror film at times. Spain’s semi-final against Germany was so boring that I fell asleep during it.

European commentators keep salivating over Spain’s slick passing. They are a great passing team, no doubt, but at times I think they over-elaborate and do not get the ball in the box quickly enough.  How good are Spain? They are the world champs and deserve all the credit.  However I get the feeling we still do not know how good this Spain team really is because they were rarely tested in this World Cup. Would have loved to see them face Brazil or Argentina.

Player of the tournament: toss up between Diego Forlan and Xavi. Does any footballer in modern football hit the ball as hard and as cleanly as Forlan?  Then again, did you see Xavi give the ball away during this World Cup?

Luckiest player of the tournament: Mark van Bommel. A one man foul machine who somehow  manages to avoid red cards despite shockingly persistent fouling and brutal tackles. How he managed to avoid getting booked till the semi-final is a mystery.

Goal of the tournament:
Giovanni van Brockhorst’s 30 yard howitzer against Uruguay.

Villain of the tournament: David Suarez. Blocking the ball with his hands on the goal line to deny a certain Ghana goal. Apparently did not realize that FIFA rules stipulate only ONE GK per team. Loved the way he acted surprised when he got a red card. He reacted almost as if unaware that deliberately handball with BOTH hands on the line is not allowed in football.

Game of the tournament: Ghana -v- Uruguay semi-final.  The final 60 seconds of that game gave me several mini heart attacks. Ghana had an effort cleared off the line (legally), then another certain goal bound header cleared off the line (illegally), then got a penalty, then hit the crossbar, then went into a penalty shoot out.

Man of the tournament: Asamoah Gyan. This guy has serious cojones. Just a few moments after missing a penalty in the last minute of extra time, he came back to take another penalty in the penalty shoot out and hit it into the top left hand corner. Takes a brave man to recover from a penalty miss so quickly.

Spare a thought for: New Zealand. The only undefeated team in the whole competition. They drew with Paraguay, Italy and Slovakia, did not lose (even the finalists Spain and Holland lost) yet still got eliminated.

Biggest underachievers: Argentina. A team with Messi, Tevez, Higuain, Mascherano, and Milito should have gone further. Where were Cambiasso, Gabriel Milito and Riquelme?

Biggest disappointment: the African teams (apart from Ghana). African football has regressed in the past 15 years. The quality of individual players has increased, but the quality of TEAMS has gone backwards. Spare a thought for Ivory Coast. Their golden generation of Drogba, the Toures, Keita, and Kone are likely to retire without an international trophy.

Minor gripe: Imagine my horror in Durban on my way back when I drove to the Durban international airport only to be told by the security officer at the gate that “there are no planes here”. I asked him “what kind of airport has no planes?” It was then he told me that the Durban airport had closed and moved 40km away to the King Shaka international airport just one month earlier.  I had to drive away quickly to get to King Shaka. Because the airport is new, my GPS did not recognize it and had no directions for it. So I had to navigate blind with no road directions. Just made it for my flight with no time to spare. A lesson in why you should ALWAYS leave early for the airport.  The South Africans really could have done a better job of publicizing this airport move that occurred just one month before the World Cup.

Big Thank You to: The wonderful people of South Africa for their warmth, hospitality and kindness….and for confounding the Western prophets of doom who said an African country could not host a successful World Cup. Nobody was killed, kidnapped by mad rabid black Africans or sacrificed in voodoo rituals. Shame on you Western press for never believing that Africans can do anything positive. Thank you South Africa for making us proud.

3 responses

  1. The new airport was incredibly well sign posted all across Durban. All airlines had a duty to inform passengers of the change over and did so during May. Surely you should do a bit of reading up before heading to an airport?

    1. Hello Michael.

      1) No, my airline did not inform me about the change of airport location.

      2) By “well sign posted” do you mean the signs that appear when you are about 5-10km from King Shaka? …but which don’t actually start at the old Durban airport location?

      3) I’m not a fortune teller. When I visit other countries, I don’t do random Google searches just in case the airport I am flying into has been moved 40km away. That sort of thing is not exactly a predictable everyday occurrence!

      1. charles ahamba ajaero | Reply

        really the curtains of the fifa 2010 world cup, has been drawn close. lessons must have been learnt because human beigns are meant to learn from there mistakes of the past. it is a great lesson to africans more especially nigerians who claim they are the giant of africa but fails to prove there giantism in a competition like this. most africans hope in nigeria whenever any serious tournament comes around and yet they are good in dissapointing there fans game after game. Nigeria with there abundant talents in any field of human endeavour, need to be a royal model but why is it they always fail?. these questions ought to be asked to the government and the board of N. F. A. what i have been hearing about the nigerian football association is not something to write home about. all memebers who are found wanting should be brought to justice and it will serve as a lesson to others. men of unscrupulous characters should not be allowed to fill any vacance in the board whether merited or due to political affiliations.most nigerians abroad are the hard hit in in any failure our national team to perform in any international competition. we suffer the criticism by our white counterparts and there provocative altitude through out the week. if not for a reason of maturity, most nigerians abroad would have fought those whites who took it upon there shoulders to mock us. But if you look at what they say in the real perspectives, they are right because the nigeria football was elevated world over due to there outstanding performances in atlanta and those days but what many are especting to see today, is below ebb. is time to count our teeth with our tongue so as mistakes of the past not to repeat itself. all powerful people in the nigerian government should allow our coach to do his job. incessant interfierance for who to play or whom not to feature, must stop. new breed players ought to be hunted not necessarilly foreign based players. they have failed us time after time. we should not put our eggs in one basket. a word they say is enough for the wise god bless super eagles and long live all nigerians world over

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