World Cup Soccer Extravaganza 2010 begins today
With an estimated 3.1 billion dollars in the making, the biggest sporting spectacle is about to begin. Teams from more than 32 countries are set to find the answer to just one question: who is the best football team in the world? What was easier said in the press than done, South Africa is trimmed, battle-hardened and ready. Estimated television audiences to the tune of millions and millions of football buffs will prove that the African journey will be the one to remember for a long time.
In an emotional opening ceremony which is surely going to douse the flames of unpredictability, Johannesburg will come to life in an extra-ordinary display of music, culture and razzmatazz. What Jacob Zuma, the President of South Africa said is the feeling of every South African at the moment. He said, “The FIFA World Cup came to South Africa for the first time, and it should stay here forever”. The carnival like situation is compounded by the fact that the Cup has national significance for the hosts’. A reason why Nelson Mandela, at the age of 91 years has accepted a few free passes to show the world what World Cup means to South Africa.
Apart from its significance, the ‘Bafana Bafana’ – an 83rd ranked team - along with a number of international star teams will be the centre of attention for the next 30 days. Newer stars will be made, the old horses will retire and a new breed of football fans will witness what the World Cup means to the greater football community. With a per match cost of $ 30 million, 10 newly erected stadiums and more than 400, 000 interim jobs created, South Africa has changed forever.
Mexico may find the situation a little too difficult to understand when they face an emotional, spirited and well-supported team such as South Africa in the opening game. However, there are still many stones that have been left unturned. Security is expected to be high on the agenda – an issue which has received scathing negative press from Europe and America. Mark Schroeder, a security analyst has however calmed down some nerves by saying that terrorism from regional terror groups will not be a possibility. It’s because they don’t have the resources to pull it off.
South Africa knows, agrees and accepts its problems. However, the pros outweigh the con’s which is of utmost importance. Supporters armed with Vuvuzela’s (a traditional African trumpet) have also garnered some bad press in the recent days. Due to its inhumane loud sound, European footballers believe it to be a tactic of deceit. However, not everyone agrees.
"I think vuvuzela’s are magical. It's our tool to make Bafana Bafana go as far as possible. I am absolutely inspired, it's a dream come true to be here today," said Desh Rooplall of Johannesburg, dressed in the national side's green and gold.
The 19th FIFA World Cup is going to be different for sure and the guest list for the opening ceremony proves just that. Along with Nelson Mandela, the all-powerful Barrack Obama will grace the occasion – the plan is still under secret wraps. More than 215 countries will see the opening occasion live on television broadcast, with 500 million people on Earth expected to watch it. R Kelly, the Grammy Award winner will sing the host country into action with spiritual support coming in from Soweto’s performers. Hugh Masekela, Algerian Afro-pop performers Khaled and Pentsula will feature in a live performance at the opening ceremony.
So here we are, all set and ready to soak into the atmosphere. May the best team win.