As the 2010 World Cup arrives in South Africa, with the opening game on Friday, the African continent celebrates hosting the tournament for the first time. I’m sure a spectacular opening ceremony is planned but all the football fans want is for that first game to kick off. Of course, as a South African, I am hoping the host nation kicks off in style by winning its first game against Mexico. If you know the history of South African football you will know victory is not expected, it is hoped for. However, their coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has an impressive World Cup pedigree and has managed to notch up a solid 12 match unbeaten run for the host nation, albeit against average countries. To be honest I am hoping Bafana Bafana go Arizona on those Mexicans and kick ass. On paper Mexico has the better team, but the game is not played on paper. I’ll take a draw.
According to the New York Times, “The first documented soccer games played on the African continent were staged in the future World Cup cities of Cape Town and Port Elizabeth in 1862. That was one year before the rules of association football were codified in England in an attempt to facilitate competition by bringing uniformity to the emerging sport…Even if soccer is “Africa’s game,” that does not mean that Africans are unambiguously focused on African soccer. In the age of the satellite dish and globalization, they are increasingly likely to be watching Manchester United or F.C. Barcelona on television or in a makeshift video shack than to be cheering on their local clubs in domestic league play.”
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One last thing, please stop referring to the Football World Cup as the SOCCER World Cup. The game is Football. FIFA stands for ‘Fédération Internationale de Football Association (International Federation of Association Football)’. I don’t care if this confuses Americans. It’s the world’s game and it is called FOOTBALL. I realize there is a sport played in North America with lots of pads and helmets whereby you run whilst holding a rugby-shaped ball and crash into each other then stop as much as possible for commercials. In this sport there is no ball and certainly no action involving the foot in general play. Historically, the word ‘Soccer’ came from a shortened reference to the word asSOCiation football to avoid confusion in countries where another form of football game exists. The name ‘Soccer’ is a nickname taken from the term ‘Association Football’, therefore you SHOULD refer to the sport as FOOTBALL *sigh*…whatever, it’s vuvuzela time!