Africa News blog
African business, politics and lifestyle
The pivotal marketing position when South Africa were still bidding for the 2010 World Cup was the assertion it would be a tournament for all of the continent. ‘Africa’s bid’ was the pay-off line used throughout the successful campaign.
Using famous footballing personalities from around the continent, South Africa garnered widespread support with its all-inclusive approach against their Arab rivals in the race to win the right to host the event.
But for their crowing about pan-African idealism, which the South African World Cup organisers still like to proffer from time to time, there is a growing ambivalence in the country about football to the north of its border.
It is as if South Africa looks more to Europe for inspiration and sporting solidarity and, if it had a choice, would bypass competition in Africa all together. (more…)
This is more than two applications per available ticket although there is likely to be much more demand for the matches during the exciting knockout phase of the tournament than for the opening two weeks of group play.
For all their prowess at the last two continental championships, and their glittering array of successes at club level, Egyptian soccer is becoming increasingly haunted by the spectre of continued failure to make it to biggest footballing showpiece of them all.
Organisers have postponed a conference of Nobel peace laureates in South Africa after the government denied a visa to Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who won the prize in 1989 – five years after South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu won his and four years before Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk won theirs for their roles in ending the racist apartheid regime.
Although local media said the visa ban followed pressure from China, an increasingly important investor and trade partner, the government said it had not been influenced by Beijing and that the Dalai Lama’s presence was just not in South Africa’s best interest at the moment.
It is hard to fathom what the motivation for Jean Thissen’s decision would be. He takes on the job as national team coach of Togo just over two weeks before the resumption of Africa’s World Cup qualifiers and with the very real prospect of having to do without his best player.
Thissen is the third new coach to take over at the helm of a side who are still in the World Cup race and set out at the end of this month on the final leg of the fight for one of the five berths for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.
There were the predictable platitudes from Sepp Blatter in South Africa this week, expressing satisfaction with the pace of construction of the country’s top stadia ahead of its hosting if the 2010 World Cup finals.
But there was little Swiss diplomacy on display from the FIFA president when dealing with the issue of the country’s national team, Bafana Bafana, whose rapid decline over the last years is now a major source of concern.