The 2009 Confederation Cup has certainly spat out a few surprises, the most notable of which being the USA defeating one of the best teams in world football, Spain.
Whether the USA actually outplayed the Spanish is debatable but the scoreline tells its own story.
Other crazy results that have emerged from this “dress rehersal” as the Confederations Cup is so often called include Brazil’s 3-0 demolition job of a disinterested Italians and Egypt coming close to beating the former with the game being settled by a late Kaka penalty for a 4-3 scoreline.
The same Egyptians got their rooms pillaged by a bunch of surreptitious woman, though the Egyptians deny that the evening was heading in that direction. The old saying goes “When the cat’s away, the mice will play”, especially if Cairo is point A and South Africa is point B.
Apart from that (and from a South African point of view Joel Santana’s ridiculous tactics), the tournament appears to have been well organised with few logistical hiccups and the standard of football being quite high.
With the tournament reaching its conclusion this coming weekend (and thankfully that football autocrat Sepp Blatter will be going back to Lausanne with it), the next major football event on the horizon is the World Cup itself (I refuse to call it the FIFA World Cup…that just seems dirty).
I published an article a couple of months ago about South Africa’s readiness for one of the world’s top sporting events (the Summer Olympics is the other, and trust me, when [no ifs] it comes to Africa, a South African city will host it). Now that the dress rehearsal is over, perhaps it is time to take another look with the main event less than a year away.
In terms of stadia, the Confederations Cup has been an excellent platform to show off the new Royal Bafokeng Stadium (Rustenberg), Loftus Versveld (Pretoria), and Ellis Park (Johannesburg…it is technically Coca-Cola Park but screw the people in suits).
The new Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth hosted its first match with the British and Irish Lions rugby team being the team and sporting code to break the proverbial bottle of champagne over the bow.
Nelspruit’s and Cape Town’s Green Point Stadium are coming along and will be ready in time for the event next year. The picture above, being that of Soccer City near Soweto, is almost complete and will host a final and opening match with over 90 000 fans. The design is typically African chic (if that term can be used) and will look fantastic once complete.
Stadiums are also being completed in Durban, Polokwane (that one will be a white elephant unfortunately and unless Super rugby comes to Port Elizabeth, the same fate lies in wait for stadium named after South Africa’s first democratically elected president).
Transport is an on-going issue, with taxis used by the organisers for the Confederations Cup being often unsure as to where to drop off prospective fans. The BRT (bus rapid transport system) is taking shape, with major highways in host cities literally being cut in half to create specialised bus lanes.
Train stations are being upgraded and Gau-Train, the closest thing South Africa will have to an underground, will have been completed enough to go from the airport to the heart of Johannesburg’s CBD, Sandton.
AUTHOR: Adam Wakefield
DATED: 25th June 2009