Will The Anti Brigade Please Take Your Head Out Of Your Arse Already
Sometimes I get a little hot under the collar. It doesn’t happen often, and it normally takes something big to upset me. Soon after the South African teams’ exit from the 2010 World Cup on Tuesday evening I had one of those rare moments.
Lamenting the fact that this is the first World Cup in which the host nation has not progressed through to the Knockout Phase of the tournament, it didn’t take long for the naysayers, pessimists and other sundry ‘disgruntled South Africans’ to start their irritating, hypocritical comments on various news sites and blog pages.
A little like the 3 Monkeys, these pseudo-patriots refuse to see, hear or speak of anything positive about the 2010 World Cup being held here. It’s wall-to-wall doom and gloom with this lot. They embarrass themselves, and irritate the living heck out of me.
The extremely bitter tone of many their comments is what really triggered my ‘shut-the-hell-up-and-piss-off-you-blinkered-bunch-of-pillocks’ reflex. And so for those who simply refuse to see the positives of the World Cup in South Africa, regardless of what happens, I offer a little perspective:
- Carlos Alberto Perreira coached the national team for 15 matches after his return to the head coach position late last year. 14 of those matches were either wins or draws. Only 1 resulted in a loss – the disastrous 3:0 loss to Uruguay that probably led to SA’s eventually demise. The 13-match unbeaten streak leading up to that loss is the 3rd longest by a national football team in the history of keeping national football team records.
- At #83 in the Fifa rankings, South Africa holds the record for being the lowest ranked nation to ever host a successful World Cup tournament. No other host nation with such a low global ranking would ever have been considered as a viable venue for the tournament. In short, our ability to play world-class soccer is secondary to our ability to be world-class hosts for the planets’ largest single sport event. 1
- Something like 465,000 foreign tourist arrivals will be seen in this single month. “Foreigners will stay away in droves” did not happen, despite the best efforts of the negative media SA got leading up to the tournament.
- These tens of thousands of foreign visitors are spending hundreds of thousands of their lovely foreign currency notes on South African products, services, food and wine. And they are loving every minute of the experience.
- Every single match so far has had ticket sales of well over 90%. A number have been sell-outs. Match attendances are very positive too, with most games reaching well over 90% attendance figures as well. Chief amongst the empty seats? The high-priced hospitality suites pitched to foreign corporate companies at a time when their budgets were seriously under pressure from a global recession. They remain empty for simple economic reasons – not because South Africa’s World Cup is a disaster. 2
- World Cup 2010 South Africa will be the most successful tournament ever held. Period. Revenues, attendances, global broadcast coverage, online and print media column inches, infrastructure development, advertising and national reputation points are all unparalleled. Yes, there’ll be more successful tournaments in the future. But right now, 2010 is the motherf-ing bees knees. Period.
- The global online response to the World Cup in South Africa has been, and will continued to be, nothing short of a phenomenon. Reports show that the two busiest traffic days ever seen on the Internet have been the opening day of the World Cup and during yesterdays USA-Algeria and England-Slovenia games. Read that again. The entire global Internets’ busiest days ever. And we haven’t even got to the Brazil-Portugal clash, or any of the knock out games yet.3
- If that’s not enough proof of the global impact we’re having, consider the fact that the Twitter service has been experiencing unprecedented load to the point that despite their best technical efforts at increasing capacity, the service continues to land up overloaded and users are seeing the Twitter ‘fail whale’ more often than ever before.
- And that’s even without going near the impact that the vuvuzela has had. Love it or hate it, the facts are clear. Sainsburys in the UK sold out of them in minutes. Amazon.com lists it as one of their fastest selling items ever. Greek and French unionists are importing them by their thousands to use in protest marches. It’s been seen at American NBA basketball games. German fans are celebrating with it in the streets of Munich and Berlin. Brazilians are placing huge orders for it to ensure that the next World Cup has the vuvuzela sound too. But its origins will forever be remembered as the sound of 2010 and associated with South Africa. Unpaid aural advertising if you like.
- R582-million goes to SAFA from FIFA for football development projects, and the continued development of the national team towards the African Cup of Nations and qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. A local coach who is kept with the team all the way through these two tournaments would be fantastic – Pitso, Gordon, Gavin and/or Clive would be my suggestion.
- Nicholas Sarkozy, the French president no less, will chair a meeting to discuss what he terms “France’s disastrous World Cup campaign”. This is for a group of footballers, their coach and technical staff whose combined wealth and earnings probably outstrip many small African nations and various island states. This is a footballing nation that was ranked at #9 in the world going into the tournament. And they made it only as far as their South African hosts. With a lot less style, hardly any flair and very little of their supposed skill.
I could go on, but I won’t. If you are one of those still not convinced of the positive value that the World Cup has had, is having, and will continue to have on this country, then nothing more I say will change your mind.
Yes it would have been fantastic if Bafana Bafana had progressed to the next round of competition. But to suggest that this failing is ‘disgusting’, ‘a disaster’, ‘a national disgrace’ and many other ‘dis-‘ words is a display (!) of the poor and sad state of mind and lack of national pride that some fellow South Africans have. You are the disgusting disgraces in my opinion.
If you are one of those that will continue to refuse to acknowledge these facts, let me be bold enough to suggest that you might want to pull your head out of your arse sometime and smell the air. You might realise that it isn’t all as crap as you seem to think.
1 Based on FIFA rankings history: http://tinyurl.com/2u9wbwx
3 This statement is based on information tracked by Akami which is the world’s largest operator of news network computers. Their servers tracked spikes of over 230% above normal levels on the WC days I mentioned. Akamai does not report on the world’s total Internet demand. But it does carry most of the world’s major news organisations (including the BBC, CNN, and NBC) so it seems a reasonably fair representation of the “whole entire internets’ usage levels” and also a fair indication of how World Cup fever is driving Internet traffic. See http://www.akamai.com/html/technology/nui/news/index.html for more.