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For fans seeking ticket information for the Confederation Cup, a number is listed on the FIFA site for a helpdesk with appropriate information.
The site, however, has inserted an extra 0 into the number so instead of dialing the correct number, calls go to the private line of the chief organiser, Danny Jordaan, increasingly bemused at the number of calls he is taking from the public about ticket availability and prices.
“Yes, there have been a lot,” he said laconically when Reuters called the alleged helpline number to check price information and got the big boss on the line instead.
Jordaan said he had asked for the number to be corrected, but in the meantime was happy to provide a personal touch to potential customers.
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.
South Africa’s Brazilian coach Joel Santana has broken into English at news conferences on just a handful of occasions.
It’s mostly after rare wins for the national side when the local media are in good humour and Santana seeks to charm them with his piecemeal vocabulary. Few notes are taken amid the mirth.
from Left field:
Eight years ago, Mexico lost 3-1 away to Honduras in a World Cup qualifier, sunk by a Carlos Pavon hat-trick, and the defeat cost Enrique Meza his job.
Already under enormous pressure, Meza quit in the dressing room afterwards and has gone on to become a highly successful coach with Pachuca, a friendly club founded by Cornish miners whose modern-day facilities would put many of their European counterparts to shame.
Quite how far Michael Owen’s career has nosedived was underlined at the weekend when the Newcastle United striker was again overlooked for his country despite the lack of attacking options for coach Fabio Capello.
Capello watched three of his squad strikers hobble off at Wembley on Saturday during the 4-0 friendly victory over Slovakia with Emile Heskey and Carlton Cole both ruled out of Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier against Ukraine.
Soccer leagues in the Balkans are suffering from an uncontrolled outflow of talent to wealthier and more competitive environments in Europe and it’s a trend that’s benefiting some of the region’s national teams.
At least three countries that emerged from the former Yugoslavia stand a good chance of reaching next year’s World Cup in South Africa.
Troubled Mexico face a potentially decisive five days in their attempt to qualify for the World Cup and the tension is already starting to tell.
After losing to the United States last month in the opening game of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament’s final stage, Mexico host Costa Rica on Saturday and visit Honduras — where they were beaten in a previous stage of the competition — on Wednesday.
It may prove difficult to switch a nation’s sporting focus from rugby to football, especially one that is basking in the glory of a first rugby grand slam in 61 years, but a wave of good fortune is boosting hopes of Ireland featuring at the World Cup finals in South Africa next year.
Guided by the mercurial talents of Italian Giovanni Trapattoni, the Irish have made a solid, undefeated start to a tricky qualifying group containing World champions Italy, Dimitar Berbatov’s Bulgaria, Cyprus – who beat them 5-2 in Euro 2008 qualifying - and a skilful Montenegro.
Paolo Guerrero scored twice for Hamburg SV on Sunday in their 2-1 win over Schalke 04, whose consolation was scored by his compatriot Jefferson Farfan.