Monday, 07 December 2009 | Week #50 | Day #341 | Days Remaining in 2009: 24
After the weekends’ FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 Final Draw in Cape Town on Friday, there is a heavy World Cup slant to this mornings’ news… I apologise if this is not your cup of tea. Normal service will resume next week.
Cape Town Does The Business
Cape Town, never a city to shirk a party, came to life for Friday night’s colourful, slickly-run 2010 Fifa World Cup Final Draw at the city’s International Convention Centre. Seldom can such an impressive array of international and local stars have gathered for a single event held in South Africa. On the city’s Long Street, blocked off for a street party followed by a viewing of the draw on a big screen, some 20 000 people packed the street for a monster party.
The draw itself, unsurprisingly and in the fashion of the Preliminary Draw held in Durban in November 2007, went like clockwork. After a recorded message from former president Nelson Mandela, President Jacob Zuma and Fifa president Sepp Blatter opened proceedings. Zuma said the World Cup will stay in Africa.
“We are very proud as South Africans, as well as the continent of South Africa, to host the Fifa World Cup for the first time,” the president said. “We are also proud as South Africans that we have been able to keep time – we are on time, everything has gone according to schedule.” [KickOff]
Hosts Ready To Deliver World Cup Party
The partying is over – now comes the hard part. After a weekend of celebration following Friday’s glittering draw for next summer’s World Cup finals, South Africa has returned to a semblance of normality. Many South Africans resigned themselves to an early exit after the draw but that did not seem to dampen the atmosphere at Cape Town’s main party venue, the city’s trendy Long Street. Local and foreign fans, many with flags of their favourite teams painted on their faces, thronged the bars and restaurants.
Yet questions still remain about whether this diverse country will be ready in six months’ time to stage the greatest sporting jamboree on earth – and not just on the pitch. Take the morning of the draw as an example. Returning to the cavernous media centre in the heart of Cape Town after a press briefing, this correspondent and scores of other scribes and cameramen were denied entry as a bomb scare sent local authorities into a mild state of panic.
As sirens wailed, bomb disposal experts in what looked like chemical warfare outfits converged on the building, along with angry-sounding sniffer dogs and gun-wielding uniformed police. As it happened, an unidentified journalist – that’s right, a journalist – had plonked his bag down at the entrance security check, screamed that there was a bomb in it and scarpered. There was no device as it happened, apart from a camera, and the offending journalist – we are yet to know whether he was officially accredited or bogus – was later apprehended and rightly arrested.
Bizarrely and as an example of how sensitive the authorities are to criticism, the police chief who gave details of the crime freely gave out his mobile phone number in case there were any follow-up questions. The whole incident gave a taste of how strong the security machine will be when it kicks into action next summer as a predicted 450,000 fans and 15,000 media descend on cities across the country.
On the plus side, however, you could not help but get swept up by the ambiance of the whole occasion. This is not just a World Cup for South Africa but the whole of the continent and Danny Jordaan, chief executive of the organising committee, certainly delivered on the promise of a world-class draw, which triggered a wave of passion on a night that sparkled with rhythm and soul. [ESPN Soccernet]
2010 Ticket Frenzy: 150,000 Ticket Request Within 24 Hours!
Fans applied online for an astonishing 157,771 tickets to 2010 World Cup games in the 24 hours that followed the draw for the soccer tournament. The draw determined which countries would play each other in the first round of the tournament. And it told fans where they could watch the opening games played by their teams.
Fifa released a million fresh tickets for purchase following the draw, in addition to the 680,000 already sold to the public. Almost half of those tickets were sold to South Africans, closely followed by fans from Britain and the US. Fifa spokesman Delia Fischer said that within five hours of the third ticketing phase opening on Fifa.com, the site had received 77,269 applications.
"That excludes the applications made through member associations and any made at FNB branches," she said of the almost 160,000 final tally last night.
Fans have been warned only to purchase tickets through the Fifa website and tour operators selected by football’s governing body. Local Organising Committee chief of communications Rich Mkhondo said: "As the organising committee we are happy about this phase of applications and hope most of the games will soon be sold out." [Times Live]
In Other News:
ANC Supporters Disrupt Zille Talk: Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille says it will take more then a "rowdy and drunken ANC crowd" to stop her talking to the people. Police had to fire rubber bullets at a crowd that tried to prevent her addressing residents at Winterveldt, north of Pretoria. Seven people were arrested, police said. Zille told The Times that about 50 ANC supporters, most of them wearing the party’s branded shirts and singing President Jacob Zuma’s popular Mshini wam war cry tried to intimidate her by burning DA T-shirts and flags and a tyre next to her trailer. "There were many people who were clearly intoxicated. I have experienced this type of behaviour before and we refused to be intimidated and we stood firm. They tried to prevent the DA supporters dousing the fire, or preventing the acrid smoke choking the area," she said. [Times Live]
Five Caught With Firearms In Raid: Four men and a woman were arrested in Bromhof with a cache of firearms after a raid involving the Randburg police station and the Crime Intelligence Unit. Police spokeswoman Inspector Kim Cloete said law enforcement agents were following up on information given to them. She said the joint operation yesterday morning unearthed two AK-47s, a 9mm pistol with its serial number filed off and a BMW 5-series that had apparently been stolen during a house robbery in Sandton on September 12. Cloete said the suspects were arrested for vehicle theft and the possession of unlicensed firearms. "All the suspects are in their 20s. One of them owns the property that was raided." [The Star]
Ritual Bull Slaying Takes 20 Minutes: Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini lambasted people who criticise other people’s culture and called for the revival of circumcision during his address at the Umkhosi wokweshwama ceremony at the Nyokeni royal palace in Nongoma on Saturday. The king’s call for circumcision has received support from Premier Zweli Mkhize who attended the ceremony. President Jacob Zuma also arrived at the ceremony and watched with thousands of amabutho as more than 30 young warriors fought the bull as it jumped and kicked while running around the kraal. The king named the young warriors, aged between 16 and 19 years, Izinnyosi (bees). The young men took off their shirts and in the chilly afternoon, stood half naked inside the kraal, ready to face the beast. Barehanded, they held the bull by its horns and wrestled it to the ground where they killed it. It took about 20 minutes for the bull to die. Photographers were not permitted to bring their cameras inside the grounds of the palace. Women and children were sent away from the kraal – in case the bull broke out and injured someone – and all men had to be inside the kraal behind the Izinnyosi warriors. [News24]
Habana Hat-Trick Helps Barbarians Beat All Blacks: For only the second time, the Barbarians beat the All Blacks. The last match in which that happened, in Cardiff in 1973, is part of rugby folklore. This result will not live nearly so long in the memory. For New Zealand, the match was an afterthought, a postscript to an autumn tour in which they won five Tests and conceded one try. The game had a lot of the ingredients required for a classic. The lead was swapped three times; Bryan Habana scored a hat-trick; and the result was not settled until the final minute, when Schalk Burger cut short New Zealand’s final attack with a thunderous tackle and turnover. But for much of the match it was impossible to tell which team was the scratch side even though, as the Barbarians coach, Nick Mallet, said afterwards, his team had only two training sessions. "If you could even call them training sessions. They were more walkabouts." The final score: Barbarians 25-18 New Zealand [The Guardian UK]
Joburg Weather This Week
JoBra says heita!