Only 393 days until the 2010 World Cup starts!
Excited? Have your tickets yet?
My computer's been broken the past few weeks. So I've no idea what the latest news is concerning the world's biggest sporting event.
Instead of regurgitating a load of news, here's a list of required reading to get you all caught up, complete with my oh-so-witty commentary ...
1 - Q and A with New York Times writer and ‘Outcasts United’ author Warren St. John.
If you haven't read John's initial piece about the Fugees youth soccer team from Clarkson, GA, do yourself the favor and get to it. It's a wonderful article about a 'group of youth soccer players in a small southern town who came from some of the most war-ravaged places on earth.'
Since the article was written in 2006, John's gone on to publish a book about the team. Not about the World Cup, but certainly about the powerful affect of football on people, a team and a community.
2 - Rapper AKON is writing the 2010 World Cup anthem.
“I’ve been hired as musical director for the World Cup,” he told the Daily Mirror. “I will be overseeing the World Cup anthem and music at the ceremonies and I’m off to South Africa this week for meetings. I love soccer so it’s a great honor.”
3 - Kenya's players will receive 1 million Kenyan shillings if they qualify for the World Cup.
That works out to about $13,000 American dollars. Yes, please ...
4 - This is truly an African World Cup. Mauritius has teamed up with FIFA to join Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and hosts South Africa in a top line-up of accommodation providers.
The initiative forms part of FIFA's and the Local Organizing Committee's objective to host an African World Cup and make sure that the entire Southern African region benefits from the global football showpiece.
"We always said it is Africa's World Cup. To be part of the 2010 accommodation program is a great marketing opportunity for the tourism industry in the entire Southern African region to directly benefit from the World Cup. Mauritius and the other Southern African countries in the accommodation team have the unique chance to showcase fans from all over the world during the four weeks between June 11 and July 11, 2010 the splendid and diverse landscapes and the incredible hospitality the region has to offer," explained FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke.5 - Big news as far as the African domestic game goes, as Al Ahly coach Manuel Jose has resigned and taken over the Angola coaching post.
In his six years in charge, Ahly won the African Champions League four times.
Angola hosts the 2010 African Cup of Nations next January.