George Dearnaley

Confed Cup dry run for 2010

2008-09-05 05:31

I recently attended a 2010 Conference where I was impressed by the number of very intelligent, energetic people who are putting their everything into making sure South Africa delivers a great tournament in 2010.

Unfortunately there are still some perceptions that we can't do it, but I sense we have turned a big wide corner and are starting to head in the right direction.

It will take a lot of hard work, and it will take a big shift in mindset before we accept that we are faced with a magnificent opportunity to tell a different story to the World.

I guess there are many of us who are sick of the same old "war, poverty, disease, famine, crime and corruption" tags that are often associated with all African media stories. I'm not saying they don't exist, but it is about time we got up and started telling some success stories - they also exist.

What is also very apparent is that the majority of South Africans are very aware of the forthcoming 2010 tournament, but very few are aware of the significance of the 2009 Confederations Cup tournament.

The truth is that this tournament will also offer a lot more South Africans an opportunity to watch some of the World's best teams in action at a decent price.

Complete meltdown

The Confederations Cup is a tournament featuring the Champions of each Continent, plus the reigning World Cup champions and the host country of the next World Cup. So we have Brazil (S.America), Spain (Europe) and Italy (reigning World Cup champions) along with Egypt (Africa), Iraq (Asia) and the USA (N. America).

Bafana will be there too (host nation) and it is a 99% certainty - barring a complete meltdown - that New Zealand will represent Oceania (now that Australia are part of the Asia zone).

Apart from watching Italy, Spain and Brazil in action, imagine the humdinger of a match should Iraq face the USA! And of course we have our own Bafana in action - and these matches provide local fans with the best opportunity to watch World class football by some of the best teams in the World.

Very few foreign fans will travel over to watch this tournament, and the last thing we need (or FIFA for that matter) is empty stadiums televised around the Globe. We have to put on a spectacle to show we are ready for 2010.

The Confederations Cup tournament is a dress rehearsal for the World Cup and is taken very seriously by all concerned. Each country will send their best squad. We will see Fabregas and Torres, and Robinho and Kaka, and some Iraqis and Kiwis in action over an intense three week period.

Our biggest challenge will be in convincing enough local soccer fans to go along and watch Egypt versus the USA, or Iraq versus New Zealand - the Bafana, Italy, Spain and Brazil games will be of massive interest, so should have no problems getting bums on seats.

I see the smaller games as a chance to observe why these teams are their reigning Continental champions, a chance to observe tactics and technique, a chance to see the newly upgraded stadiums and be a part of the 2010 process.

The other thing to consider is that there will be a lot less chance of getting a 2010 ticket to a decent match without paying a local fortune, so make the most of the opportunity.

  • George is Media24's Mr Soccer.

    All is not rotten

    2016-10-20 07:39

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