What the naysayers had to say about us
– with apologies to http://www.iol.co.za
When Fifa president Sepp Blatter opened the envelope and declared South Africa the 2010 World Cup host, several sceptics said South Africa would fail at the task. UK tabloids also took to warning their readers of imagined dangers they would face in SA.
•SA columnist Justice Malala (February, 2008): “I do not want South Africa to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
“There, I’ve said it! Call me names, but I have had enough of this nonsense, of keeping quiet and ignoring the fact that a train is about to run us over… Scrap the thing and give it to Australia, Germany or whoever will spare us the ignominy of watching things fall apart here – football tourists being held up and shot, the lights going out… I do not want us to host the 2010 World Cup because there is no culture of responsibility in South Africa.”
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•Star German footballer and coach Franz Beckenbauer (September, 2006): “The organisation for the World Cup in South Africa is weighed down by big problems, but these are not South African problems – these are African problems. People are working against… each other.”
Beckenbauer said Germany would most likely take over organising the 2010 World Cup.
•Brazilian soccer legend Pele: “My worry is that they will not be finished with the job.”
•Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness (January, 2010): “I was never a friend of a World Cup in South Africa and Africa as long as the security issue is not 100 percent solved. Mr Blatter had to have his way, (but) I always considered it wrong. Now you have to make the best out of it (but) I am convinced that deep down Mr Blatter has realised that giving the World Cup to South Africa was one of the biggest wrong decisions he ever made.”
•UK paper The Daily Star: “An expert has predicted the country is almost certain to be hit by a major natural disaster. And it could strike during this summer’s footie tournament. Dr Chris Hartnady has singled out Durban and Cape Town as the areas most likely to be hit by a quake. And that is bad news for England’s stars, who are set to face Algeria in Cape Town on June 18.”
•UK paper The Sun (May, 2010): “England’s South African World Cup base is surrounded by some of the world’s deadliest snakes. Killer pythons, spitting cobras, puff adders and black mambas hunt around Bafokeng Sports Campus in Rustenburg.”
•Steve (no surname) comments on what fans should bring to South Africa for the World Cup on http://www.worldcupblog.org (September, 2006): “If you are planning to visit SA for the 2010 World Cup here are some tips.
“Make sure your life policies are up to date. Bring your own body bag. Make arrangements to fly your corpse home before you arrive. Bring own AZT, there is a waiting list for rape victims. Check with your GP about TB treatment packages. Bring your own blood in case you need a transfusion. Bring your own bullet proof jackets. Bring lots of money, you are sure to be ripped off.”
•This article was originally published on page 4 of The Mercury on July 12, 2010