Monday, June 29, 2009
Now that the 2009 Confederations Cup is over (congrats to Brazil from a disgruntled American), how did it go?
The 2010 World Cup dress rehearsal seems to have gone over well with football's world governing body FIFA. The organization's president, Sepp Blatter, addressed the media today.
"South Africa is heading in the right direction and the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) and the South African government have done an exceptional job, but there are still challenges to be addressed," Mr Blatter said.
He added that the hospitality, the stadiums and the reception by South Africans was wonderful, but emphasized that adequate accommodation, the transportation system, crowd control outside the stadium, the park-and-ride system and a few other logistics remained a major challenge.
"These challenges need to be addressed and I'm confident that the LOC working with FIFA and the government will pay attention to these challenges before the World Cup," he said.
Despite the challenges facing South Africa, Mr Blatter has given the country 7.5 points out of ten and encouraged the LOC to work hard to reach the maximum points during the much anticipated international sporting event.
He told reporters that as part of speeding up the process, the FIFA Organizing Committee will meet regularly with the LOC to discuss the challenges and how South Africa can improve in making this African World Cup the best ever.
Meanwhile, Mr Blatter met with South African President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who pledged to coordinate the process of preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
"The South African government has shown great commitment and as FIFA we will work with them and the LOC to ensure that South Africa and Africa at large deliver a flourishing World Cup which will leave a great legacy," he said.
MY POV: Now can we do something about the vuvuzelas?
I wasn't in South Africa. But from what I saw on my TV back in New York, the crowds looked like they were having fun. While this isn't in FIFA's bottom line, it's a good start.
South Africa's wonderful showing in getting to the semi finals didn't hurt either.
Now, onward and upward. The Cup's ever so close ...