Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is serious about his soccer. He is a cheerleader for the US bid to host the World Cup; proud of the prowess on the pitch in South Africa for the red, white and blue; a fan of the noisemaking vuvuzela and a thinker who sees the beautiful game as a way to gain insight on disputes between ethnic groups and nations.
Clinton, still jubilant after attending a dramatic U.S. victory in stoppage time over Algeria a night ago, spoke to a roundtable of reporters for about an hour on Thursday. For him, the game is an intellectual pursuit and a passion. One book he cited was How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory on Globalization, by Franklin Foer. Foer offered some insight on his theories in an interview a few years ago with Mother Jones magazine.
The game has also served a window to the world outside the United States for Clinton who was introduced to the sport and the passion of soccer when he was a Rhodes Scholar in England in the late 1960s.
After the U.S. match against Algeria, Clinton shot the breeze in the locker room with the American players and offered a few words of wisdom that were perhaps more philosophical than any pep speech they have heard from a coach.
from Africa News blog:
The soccer fan fest sounded like a wild party with the vuvuzela horns booming through the empty streets of Polokwane town, one of the smallest of 10 venues for the first World Cup on African soil.
Everyone must be there, we thought as there was little happening on a Saturday night in the northern South African town centre.
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.
If it hadn’t been for Nigeria’s goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, the 1-0 defeat to Argentina could have been much worse for the African side. That is one reason why the Nigerian supporter contingent, even if outnumbered by the Argentinian fans, remained upbeat throught the match.
The green-white-green stripes of the Nigerian flag were seen on toddlers, their parents and even foreigners at Ellis Park Stadium in central Johannesburg.
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.
Join us for our podcast on day one of the first African World Cup, as hosts South Africa prepare to test their growing confidence against unpredictable Mexico in front of 90,000 vuvuzela-blaring fans in Soccer City.
Click the audio box above to hear the thoughts of African football expert Mark Gleeson (@markgleesonfoot), sports editor Paul Radford, soccer editor Mike Collett (@mcfootball), the suave and sophisticated Helen Popper and Ossian Shine (@ossianshine) and your host, Kevin Fylan (@kevinfreuters).
My vuvuzela is a glorious item – 70 cm of shiny plastic in the colours of the South African flag with the potential to deafen anyone nearby with the “sound of a herd of elephants”.
The minute I handed over my cash to the roadside hawker I was itching to try out my new toy – I hung it round my neck, took a deep breath, drew the trumpet to my lips and prepared to make an almighty racket.
What started as a hunt for Mexican fans became a front row seat to one of the greatest street parties ever seen in South Africa as World Cup fever cranked up several notches on a sun-kissed afternoon in Johannesburg yesterday.
As I strolled the street looking for sombreros all I could find was a sea of green and gold as tens of thousands proud South Africans roared on their team, passing by in an open top bus.
World champions Italy arrived in South Africa on Wednesday but there wasn’t much of a fanfare.
Around twenty fans turned up to greet them at Johannesburg airport, nothing in comparison with the vast numbers of South Africans dancing beneath my window in Pretoria right now. They are blowing their vuvuzelas wildly for no apparent reason, they are just so excited the World Cup kicks off in two days.