Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
A group of Mexican fans treated themselves to an extraordinary day in Polokwane.
Fantastico, were the words I could get out of a young Mexican lady who had just enjoyed a long massage, a dance with a cultural group and an exhilarating crash and drive on go-carts.
Nora Hop’s smile made up for the limit in English vocabulary as she tried to explain her first day in Polokwane. “Its wonderful, nice people, first time in South Africa and Polokwane,” she said.
The cultural experience was more fascinating to her as she was the only one called up by one of the Tswana traditional dancers to dance to one of their specials songs at Polokwane Meropa Casino and Entertainment Centre. “I was shy, also because I have never seen such a dance. But I enjoyed, ” she said.
Their tour guide, Mr Marcos Solis-Peralta from Cape Town says he is going to make sure they enjoy as much of Polokwane culture as possible. “We were surprised at the growth of infrastructure in the city of Polokwane. Although we have not travelled a lot, it looks great, said Solis-Peralta .
A portly South African student joined in Italy training on Thursday but got more than he bargained for when he lost his shorts trying a diving header and was later asked to step aside.
The world champions had invited a talented club player to take part in their session given they had unequal numbers with goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and midfielder Andrea Pirlo missing through injury.
The debate of inflated prices during the Soccer World Cup is an unending one. And in the end, what is on the price tag is entirely up to the service provider.
According to Ms Nikie Botha, a manager at the Jacaranda Overnight Accommodation in Polokwane, all-round kindness to your guests is more rewarding than ripping them off.
Who would have thought it would fall to Switzerland to rescue the World Cup from drowning in a sea of tedium?
Until the nation that voted against giving itself an extra day’s public holiday stunned European champions Spain 1-0 in Durban on Wednesday, the first week of the World Cup had been desperately disappointing.
Even though the results of the United States team in international competition indicate the country has become a respectable force in the game, in the past 12 months beating European champions Spain and drawing with presumed World Cup contenders England for example, there remain many who doubt whether soccer can ever capture the imagination of the sporting public in the United States.
The main problem Europeans, in particular English fans, appear to have with the status of soccer in the U.S. is that it is not the number one sport in the country. Not even number two or three in fact. And the fact is that there is no-one in the soccer business in the U.S. who would pretend they are in a position to overtake, on a day-to-day basis, the NFL, the NBA or Major League Baseball.
Lionel Messi, no longer the forlorn figure of the South American qualifiers, might have been back with the under-20s such was his influence and sheer enjoyment in Argentina’s opening World Cup match.
Messi’s demeanour and mood at Argentina’s World Cup base in South Africa is a world away from what it was at their training camp outside Buenos Aires during the qualifiers last year.
Love it or hate it, the vuvuzela has brought a buzz to the 2010 Word Cup. Some fans from around the world have embraced this trumpet and are all merrily blowing away at the stadiums. Some cannot stand it and have asked Fifa to put a stop to the trumpet.
We took a stroll in one of the malls in Johannesburg and did a little survey on what people think about vuvuzelas.
I have decided that the World Cup fan parks are not my cup of tea. I am a bit of a football snob who prefers to either watch the game at the stadium or in front of the telly where I can follow the proceedings closely.
So, after much hustling and trying to purchase a ticket to the opening match of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, I ended up at the Sandton Fan Park at Innisfree Park.
Scores of Bafana Bafana fans made their way to the Polokwane Fan Fest area in a public demonstration of utter patriotism.
One among the huge number of that braved the winter afternoon chills is an extraordinary young man. With his face painted in the South African flag colours, clearly done by one zealous street vendor, Morris Raseruti gave off a big smile when I asked him how he felt to be at the Fan Fest area in Polokwane in the middle of such a loud crowd of people witnessing the first game of the first African soccer world cup.
The contrast between the highly-controlled environs of the soccer World Cup venues and the likes of Cape Town’s Newlands stadium, home to a South Africa v France rugby test on Saturday, was marked.
At Newlands, the supporter is king. For decades fans have turned up early with their own food and lit hundreds of barbeques, or brais as they are known in South Africa.