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Longing to be in SA

2010-06-11 12:41
Did everyone see Desmond Tutu lose his mind on live TV last night? If you didn't see it, go check YouTube. It was awesome. He epitomised the feeling that must be rocking South Africa at the moment. The country is going crazy...

For those of us that have left (abandoned) our gorgeous Republic and live on this miserable island, there is usually about a two week window every year where we feel vindicated.

The London "summer" (all eight days of it) brings sunshine, late nights and a special continental vibe - people from all over the world are here to party and enjoy the most cosmopolitan city on the planet. During this time (under normal circumstances), I love speaking to guys back home about the cold weather, boredom and 18:00 sunsets. It almost makes the 11 months and 23 days of rain worth it.

But oh no... Not this year! For this year I am suffering the most severe case of chronic FOMO Mundial. Fear of missing out on the world cup. I was literally crying during the kick-off concert last night.

There is nothing in the world more depressing than sitting in an office in dreary London and seeing pictures, Facebook profiles and even the BBC blatantly rubbing the best party of the century in our faces. The gees! Man how I wanna feel that electricity. I crave the deafening shrills of the vuvezela, the party beats of stomping African feet and the unique excitement that comes with hosting the continent's first ever Mundial.

I want to see the ubiquitous SA flag - green, yellow, red - waving proudly in the streets, instead of that eternal symbol of mediocrity, the St George's cross, hanging from pommy cars. The ONLY thing that keeps me going right now is the opportunity to witness their heartache first hand when they lose to Brazil in the semis in July.

But enough about me and my petty jealously. I have already started a Brazil 2014 fund - I have promised myself I will be at the Maracana for the final in four years, because the only thing that might come close to an African toy-toy is a Brazilian samba.

Who will be the defending world champions when that day comes? Wouldn't we all love to know? There are a few things to remember about every World Cup...

 1. There will be a major upset. I'm talking Cameroon taking out Argentina (almost literally) in Italia 90, Senegal beating France. South Korea beating Italy. The mighty always fall on the big stage. Here's hoping Bafana Bafana can cause two in the group stages.

2. Don't underestimate home support. No host has ever lost the opening match (13 wins, 6 draws in 19 world cups). France won it for the first time at home in 98 and lowly South Korea got to the semis in 2002. Who is to say SA can't shock the world and make it to the next round? Bafana are unbeaten in 12 (albeit easy) warm-up matches, and let's not kid - the group may not be the easiest, but it sure as sh*t aint the hardest. 17/10 on Bafana Bafana is easy money!

What have Mexico ever done except give the world tequila and swine flu? Sure they are efficient and experienced, but they have never played in front of 90 000 vuvezelas and felt the ferocity of South African gees. And France have never been more ripe for the taking - they needed Henry's cheat goal to get them to Africa, and they lost to China the other day! I actually worry about Uruguay the most - the World Cup's first winners are underrated. Plus I still love Diego Forlan for scoring 2 goals against Liverpool for United in 2001.

3. Group D is always the group of Death. Yes everyone knows that group G is a tough one. Brazil, Portugal, Ivory Coast (and North Korea). But realistically Brazil will beat the other three easily, and it really just comes down to Ivory Cost vs Portugal. And without The Drog - surely Ronnie and the boys will win that one, even with no Nani (hee hee).

Group D is much more interesting if you ask me (which you didn't, but I don't care).

Obviously ze Germans are always a threat, but I reckon Jogi Low is going to be made to sweat in those tight white shirts of his by Serbia, Ghana and the Aussies. Serbia are the real dark-horses for me. They hardly conceded a goal in qualifying, with gulag monsters Vidic and Ivanovic at the helm - and the cold African winter might suit them. They will concede very few and I see them emerging from this group, possibly on top. The Black Stars may have a black hole in midfield without Essien, but they will have home town support, plus they made the 2nd round last time. And finally, those damn Aussies. The conditions will suit them, they are good at everything.  And if they get out of this group, it probably means a quarter final against England. I'd love to watch Tim Cahill score the winning penalty in a shootout and break Pommy hearts.

Anyway, I’m excited. I may not be there, but I will be there in spirit, which means I will get very very drunk and pretend I’m in South Africa later. Klippies and cola baby.

Everyone in SA - please drive SAFELY. The roads are going to be manic, I just saw that Madiba's great grand-daughter died in a car crash on the way home from the concert last night. That casts a bit of a shadow over proceedings.

OK that's all. Enjoy the opening ceremony. Come on Bafana Bafana. I hate all of you who are in, or who are going to South Africa.

Peace and love and gees and raise your flag.

Gareth Kobrin

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