Cup fever lingers worldwide

2010-07-15 21:27

Johannesburg - The kids are back at school, the car flags are looking a little frayed, the vuvuzelas growing super bugs - the Soccer World Cup is over.

President Jacob Zuma said we should all have a big party to celebrate the success of the event, but what about foreign journalists -- what are they writing about the event?

The Irish Times' Tom Humphries wrote: "The more World Cups you go to, the more you feel you are part of an ongoing confidence trick. The South African people who have put so much of their heart and soul into the last month are really just extras with local accents. Backdrop."

He writes of the "sameness" of all the World Cups and, possibly sleep deprived, continues: "The trick every four years is for the usual corporate bandits to fool the local population into believing this World Cup is theirs. And then to depart with the bill still on the table."

The Mail Online's Des Kelly calls the World Cup a milestone in football fans' lives - superseding other life events like receding hairlines.

But, for Kelly, South Africa's World Cup was the "ho hum" one, "the tournament that never quite took off".

There was "genuinely much to admire" at the event, with superb stadiums, the largest police presence he had ever seen and people who went out of their way to make visitors feel welcome, but the games themselves were "downright rank".

Jabulani beach ball

For him, the tournament would be remembered for a "beach ball" (the unpopular Jabulani ball used during the tournament), the vuvuzelas and the lack of the usual African vendors at the stadiums due to Fifa's business lock down.

The Guardian.co.uk's Marina Hyde was horrified that former president Nelson Mandela had to be wheeled out to the final on Sunday. Pulling no punches on Fifa she also wrote: "Fifa's MO is to ensure the country's statute book has been made comfortable for its arrival, take over almost entirely for the period of time needed to siphon out the money, before pulling up anchor and moving on to the next host organism.

"Naturally, we all wish Brazil the best of luck – but the time has surely come to ask who regulates the regulator. Perhaps it's one for the UN, assuming Fifa isn't about to take its first seat on the security council."

All France's Le Monde could manage was to comment on "the disgrace" of its team, as well as noting that Argentinian coach Maradonna was "sad, but has not fallen back into drugs".

The Ghana News Agency's Caesar Abagali wrote: "For the first time since the fall of Apartheid, Africa breathed with one heart," as he described how Africans vainly turned to Ghana's "Black Stars" to keep the trophy on the continent.

He continued that neither the Organisation for African Unity nor the African Union achieved what the matches did for African unity.

"Even the trees and animals stopped breathing" when Uruguay scored and the tears that followed were not for a football loss, but for the loss of the spiritual binding.

Bavaria beer babes

A full page advertisement in Holland's biggest daily newspaper, De Telegraaf, said to the Dutch: "You're the best supporters in the world," it proclaimed, with pictures of Queen Beatrix receiving the team.

The antics of the numerous and highly visible Orange supporters and the "Dutch beer babes" also received wide publicity.

Originally various Dutch columnists and analysts voiced reservations about the safety and comfort of the large contingent of Dutch soccer supporters while visiting South Africa, but as the World Cup got under way the reservations made way for enthusiastic reporting about the host country.

Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk on Thursday night will receive the freedom of his home town Meerssen in Limburg and he and captain Giovanni van Bronhorst were knighted by Queen Beatrix on Tuesday.

Victorious Spain's El Pais said the matches had been concluded with "efficiency, art and joy" with the only upset, the death of Zenani Mandela, Nelson Mandela's great-grandchild, in a car accident.

There were some transport problems, some robberies with no injuries, and the first week of the tournament was "very cold", they said.

The hosts were very welcoming but the English, they said, were "the most disagreeable, going through the streets bare-chested, drunk and saying nonsense".

The New Zealand Herald's Stuart Dye wrote of the event: "You seem to think you can just swan into my life, seduce me and then disappear four weeks later.

"You say that it's you and not me. That you'll be back, but I have to wait four years. Four years! What cruelty."

Read more on: fifa jacob zuma

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