Thursday, January 8, 2009

South Africa: 2009 is Very Important

2010 is the main event, but 2009 is shaping up to be a very important year in South Africa's sporting history according to South African website Project 2010.

It’s safe to say that 2009 will be the most important year in this country’s sporting history. In just six months, some of the giants of international football (including Brazil and Italy) will compete in the Confederations Cup. It will be the biggest sporting event ever staged on the African continent. In terms of international television coverage, it will eclipse both the rugby and cricket World Cups and while it may pale in comparison to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, it will be South Africa’s first real test of its abilities to host a mega sporting event. Sure, there have been other important sports events, but nothing awakes the extraordinary sentiment and emotion of the quadrennial showpiece of international football or this key curtain- raiser.

And the good news is that after a roller-coaster ride in most sporting codes, team SA is showing signs of peaking at the right time. Time magazine notes that after winning the Rugby World Cup last year, South Africa’s cricketers now stand atop the world ranking ’and for once, that old adage the "rainbow nation" genuinely applies’. ’

In 2010, SA hosts the soccer World Cup. It won’t win, but the success of its cricketers as they put the once-invincible? Australians to the sword will have done nothing but lift South Africa’s spirits as it prepares for the world’s biggest sporting event.’ Closer to home, The Times predicts that although this country will endure hard times in 2009, our gaze will be lifted to the World Cup: ’We should not underestimate the effect this spectacle will have on our nation’s fortunes, lifting our mood and focusing world attention on our country’s infrastructure.’

Of course, so much will depend on Bafana and how they handle their preparations for both tournaments but, again, the signs are promising. Under new coach Joel Santana, the team has recorded four morale-boosting victories in a row. The time has now come for each and every South African to throw their weight behind the team which will play such an important role in determining the success of the 2010 World Cup.

MY POV: The time has come for each and every FOOTBALL fan to throw their weight behind South Africa and their important role in hosting the 2010 Cup ... no more talk of moving the Cup, no more talk of Plan B's and C's ... let's have an honest and thorough appreciation of South Africa and the work they're doing to make the World Cup a terrific success. They deserve that from us.


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