A dip in SA tourists at SWC
Sao Paulo - Described as a guru on the subject after arranging tours for South Africans attending major sporting events, Nazeer Camroodien says there has been a dip in the number of South Africans attending this year's Soccer World Cup.
Having arranged close to 100 000 trips for South Africans over the last 28 years, tour organiser Camroodien was in Sao Paulo for the eagerly-anticipated opening game between World Cup hosts Brazil and Croatia on Thursday.
He estimated there would be close to 1 000 South Africans in Brazil, where the phrase "the beautiful game" was initially espoused by the legendary Brazilian soccer player, Pele.
"The number could have been 5 000 or more had South Africa qualified for the World Cup," Camroodien said.
"This has been the main dampening factor in stopping South Africans from travelling to Brazil."
Reports of the astronomical costs involved had also played a part, he said, as well as the growing unrest among Brazilians venting their anger over the billions spent in the staging the World Cup.
"It's true that at some of the more plush and prestigious hotels you can pay up to R45 000 a night but, with a bit of effort, you can also find something a great deal more modest as well.
"One of the South Africans I encountered revealed his hotel accommodation is R800 a night and he says he is delighted with the quality of service. He said all the amenities provided and the service were spot on."
While a group of SA Football Association's top brass were in Brazil, initially to attend the current FIFA world congress, Camroodien said he was surprised more South African soccer officials and players had not taken the opportunity to attend the World Cup.
Present, however, were a group of South African youngsters, part of a world-wide, sponsored initiative, who, together with the SAFA officials in Sao Paulo, could hardly wait for the action to begin.