Confederations Cup shapes up well…except for the weather

By Mark Gleeson
June 13, 2009

For all their scepticism about South Africa’s potential to host the World Cup, the build-up to the test event, the Confederations Cup, has so far gone without any major hitches.

It is a dream scenario for the home nation and FIFA, still trying to temper the doubters and persuade the world all will be ready by 2010, has added to the chorus of congratulations.

Sepp Blatter devoted a good deal of his traditional pre-tournament news conference on Friday to pouring scorn on the doubters.

Admittedly, there is much last minute activity and privately officials have spoken of the frustration of a society where urgency is not always a priority.

But in a country desperate to prove it can put on an event of the magnitude of the World Cup, South Africa is ahead in the PR race.

The only setback, ironically, has been the weather. It might be winter but on the Highveld, where the four venues for the Confederation Cup are situated, the cold season is normally mildly pleasant.

The air is brisk and after hours it gets cold but the days are usually filled with sunshine. Except for this week. Teams arrived to frigid conditions and unseasonal rain and spent the first days bemused by the weather.

The Italians, in particular, made much of the wet. Their friendly win against New Zealand in Pretoria on Wednesday was played in a constant downpour and the non-playing staff and spectators were bundled up as if on an Artic expedition.

The television pictures beamed back to Italy would certainly have put off a few potential tourists, who had planned to come out for the 2010 tournament.

But on the eve of kick off of the first game, South Africa v Iraq on Sunday, the sunshine has come out. Now the pressure is back on the organisers.

PHOTO: South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma reacts after being given a soccer jersey by the national soccer team before their training session at Orlando stadium in Soweto June 13, 2009. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

4 comments

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While it may be wet up in Johannesburg, Durban has been basking in mid-winter sunshine of 23-25C – glorious here at the coast. If countries saw footage of people tanning here, they would all be clamouring to be based in Durban for the first round and for training purposes come 2010.
Simon

Posted by Simon Osler | Report as abusive

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Is it correct that other countries are helping RSA financially and organisationally to put the World Cup on?

I have always believed that difficulties should be allowed to speak for themselves.

Posted by dld | Report as abusive

South Africa is a financially sound country and a visit to the main cities will surely justify that. The SA Government has allocated substantial amounts of money to ensure we meet the world’s expectations in terms of infrastructure development, transport upgrade etc. Remember these will benefit the country post 2010. We are looking beyond the competitions.

Posted by Sibusiso Dhlamini | Report as abusive

OMG!!! i want the U.S to win!!

Posted by Jewel | Report as abusive