Dearnaley: 'It's sheer madness'

2010-06-10 13:04
'Bafana Frenzy is distracting everyone' - comment by Sport24 writer George Dearnaley

Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira says he has never seen anything like it in his football career. He is, of course, talking about the unbelievable passion, enthusiasm and support for the Bafana team, as well as the fact that he has never seen such a big celebration before a ball has even been kicked.

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He says it is a big distraction for the players who need to focus on the opening match, but have been caught up in this euphoria – and sadly the country’s expectations have jumped from qualifying for the knockout rounds to winning the whole tournament, which is, to be frank, madness!

This frenzy is not only distracting the players though, there are quite a few employers and employees who seem to have been swept up in the craziness and who have forgotten about their roles and responsibilities.

I went to have a look at the Innesfree Park, the FIFA Fan Fest venue outside Sandton earlier – one day before the big kick off – and it seems someone forget to tell the park's managers that the big event is around the corner!

Firstly, while waiting in a long line of cars, I noticed that there was a security checkpoint at the gate where a dear young lady was being taught how to fill in the paperwork for each car entering the park. Nothing like on-the-job training a day before a million cars start hooting at the gate.

I pointed out to another security guard that if they had four clipboards, they could actually do four cars at a time instead of one – thus saving time and aggravation. His insightful response: “But they only gave us one clipboard.”

Added to these problems are drainage ditches that have not been completed, a pile of portable toilets that were all chained together, and a team of electricians working with a massive box of wires.

What have they been doing for the last 6 months? And, if this is the state of the Fan Park just outside the most affluent retail property on the continent, what escapades await visitors and fans to the Fan Parks off the beaten track?

Nevertheless, we are all UNITED 4 BAFANA, I am just praying it doesn’t go pear-shaped in the opening game and the mood turns!

George Dearnaley played for Bafana in 1992/93 and tried his luck in England a few times but never made it – because it’s not easy! He’s had 6 knee operations and knows how hard it is to get up on a cold morning. He believes Parreira is a great coach and that Bafana can get to the second round.

George Dearnaley will be writing exclusively for Sport24 for the duration of the Soccer World Cup.

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