England are one-time winners of the FIFA World Cup, and will be joining other teams (their 12th appearance at the finals) in South Africa with high hopes, as many strongly believe that the Three Lions stand a good chance of clinching the ultimate prize since 1966. England which is home to the world's most popular domestic league have something to prove this time around, after falling on the quarter-finals hurdles in Germany 2006, at the hands of Portugal.
They managed to book their ticket to South Africa by brushing aside Croatia, Andorra, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine. Coached by Italian Fabio Capello, England only lost once to Ukraine in an impressive qualifying campaign which also involved a sweet revenge over Croatia who previously had blocked the Three Lions' way to the Euro 2008 finals.
And when the FIFA Final Draw was held in Cape Town in December, the whole of England had something to smile about. They were drawn in Group C against the United States, Algeria and Slovenia, literally making them the Tormentor-In-Chief. The English lads will open their 2010 account against the Confederations Cup finalist, the US on June 12 in Rustenburg.
They go on to lock horns against Algeria at Cape Town Stadium on June 18, followed by Slovenia on June 23 at the beautiful Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. If the likes of Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, John Terry (captain) and company fail to reach the semi-finals, then they are most likely to go home to a frosty reception.
The England national team mentor, Capello voiced his caution after the Final Draw, by stating that an easy looking group has the potential to become complicated. He also added that his team has to win this 2010 World Cup.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
The Pharaohs have retained the Orange African Cup of Nations title in a resilient fashion against a youthful Ghana side. This they did after brushing aside their bitter rivals Algeria in the semi-finals.
Although Ghana were a competitive side in the final, they eventually succumbed to Egyptian mastery by a single goal.
The pharaohs through the outstanding contributions of Ahmed Hassan (top goalscorer of the tournament) and the goal keeper of the tournament, El Hadji did not lose a single match througout Afcon 2010.
And how one wishes they were coming to the World Cup, but still Cairo is dancing the night away - for tonight is their night!
The FIFA World Cup tournament to be held in South Africa is ushering in extensive infrastructure, set to benefit the Southern African nation long after the last whistle of the greatest soccer spectacle.
The Gautrain project is earmarked to link Johannesburg and Pretoria and during the WC you'll be able to take a ride on this snazzy rail system (a first on African soil) from the airport all the way to different parts of the continent's richest city.
There will be special bus and rail tickets designed specifically for travelling fans. The airport rail link cars will feature large luggage storage area and luxurious seating.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
The Togo national team, victims of a senseless attack are paying a heavy price for their misfortune and disorienting grief. The team was recalled by their government after the attack on their convoy in Angola, and now CAF has slapped them with an insensitive ban from the next two African Cup of Nations tournament plus a $50,000 fine.
The Confederations of African Football bosses based their outrageous move on CAF and African Nations Cup regulations. In the meantime, FIFA has refused to comment on the development. Thomas Dossevi, a Togolese midfielder said, '' We are a group of footballers who came under fire and can't play football any more. They are crushing us''.
The Samba Kings will arrive in South Africa in June as the tournament favorites, this well loved outfit is currently breathng roastful fire. Proud winners of a record five World Cup titles and three Confederations Cup triumphs, the latest being the 2009 Confederations Rumble in the jungle, and have qualified for virtually all World Cup tournaments since 1930.
Brazil will be part of the strong teams blocking the way for the six African teams that will enjoy African home ground advantage, in their bid to claim the illusive world title for the first time.
To gain passage to this year's FIFA World Cup tournament, the Brazilians disposed the likes of Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Peru and Bolivia among others. Exceptional firepower was on display against these teams in the CONMEBOL qualifiers.
Their opponents suffered heavy defeats which include 3-0 Peru, 4-0 Uruguay, 3-1 Argentina and 4-2 Chile. At the World Cup Dunga's men will do battle in Group G against Korea DPR (June 15), Cote d'voire (June 20, Soccer City Stadium), and Portugal (June 25).
Clearly, their encounter against Portugal will be the most interesting. The world looks forward to seeing what Kaka, Alves, Luis Fabiano, Robinho and gang have in store this time around. Their coach Dunga respects his opponents but pointed out that their group is not a group of death, and playing Portugal will be like going up against Brazil B.
Friday, January 29, 2010
The magic of the World Cup is once again upon us and nothing beats a first hand experience whether you are a neutral or following your team. South Africa is ready with its fantastic array of stadia and tourist attractions to match.
And beyond its borders there are African gems such as the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, the pristine beaches of Mozambique among others.
The host nation has world class accomodation packages waiting for you complete with match tickets of your choice, although the semi-finals and final are over-subscribed according to FIFA.
However, many local hospitality businesses are accused of over charging and the best option is to go through www.fifa.com/accomodation
FIFA rules on the use of World Cup tickets clearly stipulate that holders shall not sell, resell, donate or transfer tickets without prior approval from the official sources.
If you obtained your tickets through online or paper application channels, you should seek approval through the same.
For those purchasing tickets as part of the authorised travel packages you should contact the relevant tour operators or hospitality agents,
Ticket holders who received them from FIFA partners, sponsors, national supporters, etc, contact the individuals who forwarded them to you.
You are free to transfer to another person of your choice but only those you share a pre-existing relationship - no strangers.
Resale of tickets can only be done through official channels. For more information go to www.fifa.com/2010 or ticketing centre.
The defending champions Egypt have one hand laid on the 2010 African Cup of Nations trophy, and will have to wrestle it away from the Black Stars if they are to place both their hands on it.
Egypt brushed aside their World Cup bound bitter rivals Algeria by walloping them 4-0 in the semi-finals. The Algerians finished the match with eight men, courtesy of the no-nonsense Benin referee.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
FIFA has officially confirmed that up to 2 million WC tickets have been sold in three of the five ticket sales phases. The third phase came to a close on 22 January, and the final and semi-final are over-subscribed among other games.
The bulk of the tickets went to South African citizens and some of the countries topping the third phase sales list are the US, UK, Australia, Mexico, Germany and Brazil.
While Southern African nations of Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia showed marked improvement. The fourth sales phase begins 9 February ending 7 April. For more information go to www.fifa.com/2010 or call 0041445832010 (int'l) - SA enquiries - 0831232010
True to predictions the Black Stars edged past the Super Eagles of Nigeria in a semi-final of the titans in Luanda. And the solitary goal which separated the two teams came off the head of Ghana's man of the moment Asamoah Gyan. Ghana despite resting the bulk of its core team for this tournament, are cruising.
It seems nothing will stop them from clinching Africa's most prized football possession. This team is destined for greater things, the entire African continent is banking on such fine form at the 2010 spectacle in South Africa.
With Gyan firing from all cylinders, Ghana's opponents at the WC ought to watch out - Africa clamours for more of that Nkrumah magic!
The international community is finding it difficult to distinguish the attacks in Angola and conditions in South Africa (a country which shares no common border with the 2010 hosts) due to the endemic presence of heavily armed renegades that routinely terrorise the local communities.
As a result many anti-SA World Cup sentiments are furiously thrown at Africa's first World Cup hosts. The latest being an unbridled mouthful unleashed by Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness, who was quoted as saying Sepp Blatter made a big blunder by awarding the tournament to SA.
Hoeness clearly stated he has never been a fan of an SA or African World Cup on the basis of security concerns. He further reiterated that how can one expect SA security services to protect visiting fans when they cannot protect their own citizens.
FIFA quickly issued a statement saying the tournament is in capable hands, and the local organising committee also expressed their dismay saying Hoeness just wants more in terms of insurance coverage.
Mexico are coming to the World Cup as the reigning CONCACAF champions, and confidence is at an all time high thanks to the tactical acumen of their mentor Javier Aguirre. He came into the fold when Mexico's fortunes were waning and managed to transform the El Tri squad. In June they'll engage the likes of South Africa, France, and Uruguay in Group A.
The nation of Mexico have qualified for their fourteenth WC since 1930 (i.e, 1930, 1950, 1954, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1978, 1986, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, and now 2010). The players to watch in this year's team are Carlos Vela and Giovanni dos Santos who'll be taking part in their first World Cup. 'El Tri' as their millions of fans call them qualified at the back of a rigorous campaign involving the United States, Honduras, Costa Rica, Trinidad & Tobago and El Salvador.
At the 2010 World Cup they'll kickstart their campaign against South Africa at the Soccer City Stadium (above) in the opening match of the tournament. Mexico will go on to meet France in Polokwane followed by Uruguay in Rustenberg. Their best chance to snatch maximum points lies with the opening encounter against the hosts who are languishing at 90th on the FIFA rankings, and they are second lowest ranked team at the tournament. However, Mexico will have to contend with up to 80 000 vuvuzela (high pitched trumpets) wielding host team fans.
Mexico Provisional World Cup Squad (May 2010 Update)
Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (America), Luis Michel (Chivas), Oscar Perez (Jaguares)
Defenders: Rafael Marquez (Barcelona), Carlos Salcido (PSV Eindhoven), Francisco Rodriguez (PSV Eindhoven), Hector Moreno (AZ Alkmaar), Ricardo Osorio (Stuttgart), Efrain Juarez (Pumas), Paul Aguilar (Pachuca), Jonny Magallon (Chivas), Juan Carlos Valenzuela (America), Jorge Torres (Atlas)
Midfielders: Andres Guardado (Deportivo La Coruna), Jonathan Dos Santos (Barcelona), Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Israel Castro (Pumas), Pablo Barrera (Pumas), Adrian Aldrete (Morelia)
Forwards: Carlos Vela (Arsenal), Giovani Dos Santos (Galatasaray), Guillermo Franco (West Ham), Alberto Medina (Chivas), Adolfo Bautista (Chivas), Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Veracruz), Javier Hernandez (Chivas)
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
The US team otherwise known as the Yanks forms part of the final 32 participants to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. It is their eighth World Cup since 1930, the Yanks also qualified in 1994 (as hosts), 1950, 1990, 1998, 2002 and now 2010. Although the Americans have not been as successful on the world stage, their team has shown steady improvement culminating in a sterling performance at the 2009 Confederations Cup, when they lost to Brazil in the final.
This time around the Yanks qualified by claiming the scalps of El Salvador, Trinidad & Tobago, Honduras and Mexico (won at home & lost away). Come June 2010 the team will lock horns in Group C against the likes of Slovenia, Algeria and England. The US team is coached by Bob Bradley who views their group as a good one, with England and his charges making it to the next round. While the England mentor is taking a cautious approach to this group, saying an easy looking group has the potential of becoming complicated, and rightly so when considering the resurgent Algerian side busy causing upsets at the African Cup of Nations in Angola.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Durban is a jewel among South African cities, the city offers the discerning visitor magnificent wildfire adventures, natural beauty, brilliant coral reefs and beaches. You can also enjoy bathing in the warm Indian ocean throughout the year and countless options await adventure sports enthusiasts. Moses Mabhida Stadium will host some of the World Cup games, it is a remarkable facility that stands proudly between the ocean and the lushy hills of one of Africa's truly beautiful places. Enjoy these views on the stadiums' very own sky car or head for the Ushaka Marine World for an indoor marine experience like no other. www.fifa.com/accommodation
As a way of enhancing your access to World Cup tickets, FIFA has announced extra measures to allow fans the capacity to get hold of tickets to the 2010 spectacle. The third ticket sales phase came to a close yesterday, 22 January. And now FIFA has created another special sales phase for all participating member associations that will run between 9 February and 7 April 2010. While the fourth sales phase (for all countries) will run on a first-come-first-served basis. For more information -
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Barely few weeks following the attacks in Angola which reflected badly on the 2010 World Cup to be held in South Africa, and left the organisers swimming in bad publicity. They are confronted by yet another publicity nightmare relating to reports of a company in England marketing a stab proof vest for England fans travelling to SA called Protektorvest, which raised its notorious head in the direction of the furious 2010 hosts.
This is all at the back of another bullet proof vests story emanating from Germany. In the main, it seems European countries are having a ball taking on the hapless South Africans, first it were speculations about the event being moved to another country. Now it is the security threats plus WC animal sacrifices and we are surely set for an exciting yet bruising African World Cup. However, what is most worrying though are public confessions from two SA criminals on the etv news channel that they and others are preparing to welcome the 'loaded tourists' with robbery because they are unemployed, but promised not to hurt anyone so that the same tourists can come back to SA in the future, only to be robbed again!
Sunday, January 17, 2010
The Local Organising Committee (LOC) is under pressure to push ticket sales with less than six months to Africa's first World Cup. South African fans in particular are not buying their team's (Bafana Bafana) match tickets, and this is turning to be a great source of worry for World Cup boss, Danny Jordaan. He is now planning on reversing the situation by changing the way tickets are sold and lowering the price for local fans. At present tickets are rendered through application and SA fans are uncomfortable with this, and another explanation for slow sales is the inherent culture of locals to wait until the last minute.
The famous Argentina mentor, Diego Maradona landed in South Africa to check on the University of Pretoria campus where his charges will be based during the soccer showpiece. This is after serving his ban from football activities as laid out by the football governing body, FIFA for unleashing some 'suck it' insults on journalists. His team is due to play in Group B against South Korea, Nigeria, and Greece.
The 2010 African Cup of Nations has up to this far not managed to produce scintillating matches particularly from the continent's powerhouses, who seem too comfortable taking a pedestrian pace. This is despite a flurry of goals witnessed, it has been the smaller teams doing much work and causing upsets. Last night's matches saw Nigeria huffing and puffing against Benin and only claimed full three points thanks to a solitary goal scored through a penalty by Yakubu. Egypt lacked fire in their approach even though they still grabbed maximum points and this tale is also mimicked by the likes of Cameroon, Ghana and Algeria. This lot unless they step up their game will give African fans a lot to worry about given their World Cup qualification, although the two tournaments are worlds apart.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Despite the disappointing start for 2010 African Cup of Nations hosts in the opening match against a star studded Mali side last Sunday, Angola managed to recoup and find their rhythym. Their second match saw them locking horns against Malawi who performed a giant killing act by humiliating Algeria 3-0. The hosts entered the encounter desperately needing to exorcise Sunday's ghosts having agonisingly let slip a 4-0 lead inspired by Flavio's first headers to end up at 4-4. And now Group A is set for a nail biting finish as Malawi and Algeria are both on three points while Mali sit on the bottom with one point.
In a few months time the African dream will come to life, as the world comes to its doorstep, and visitors to the 2010 festival of football shall be greeted by distinctly African sights and sounds. The continent's biggest stadium stands proudly in the center of Johannesburg ready to usher in a new era, filled with hope, advancement and unity. Its structural shell design captures a truly African image that resembles the very popular calabash - a traditional accessory used for beer brewing.
The Soccer City facility built on the site of the former FNB stadium will be the nerve center of the 2010 World Cup by not only hosting the opening ceremony and the final match. The complex also hosts the SAFA House, set to be the tournament's official headquarters.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
South Africa's security establishments are confident that their plans ahead of the big tournament are sufficient. The security forces are under pressure to render the event safe and secure in light of attacks in Angola last Friday. Concerns have been raised particularly on the issue of high crime rate and the possibility of terrorist attacks being carried out on the basis of the tournament rather than SA itself.
The newly appointed Police commissioner, Bheki Cele - a no-nonsense taskmaster is on the forefront of implementing sound security strategies involving collaboration with security agencies from other countries, and the establishment of highly trained Tactical Response Teams and the National Intervention Force. The Air Force will contribute by ensuring airspace security through the enforcement of 'no-fly zones' during the tournament, over high value areas such as stadiums which will be regarded as military airspace.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
The honour and responsibility of hosting a continental or inter-continental tournament is a prestigious one, but comes with stringent obligations. And one of the most critical standard is ensuring safety and security of everyone involved, the events on Friday in Angola have undone the basic ingredients for a succesful tournament.
Could the blame be shifted to the CAF governing body for bringing the Afcon to Angola? Whatever we make out of this most unfortunate fiasco, Africa's reputation has once again been mutilated.
Now fans to the 2010 World Cup are apprehensive about coming to Africa in June, and 2010 organisers are left with the job of explaining a mess thousands of kilometres from the host nation's shores. And in the meantime the Togolese team that suffered in the babaric attack has been recalled by their government and a final decision by CAF is due later today.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
The Southern African country tasked with hosting the 2010 African Cup of Nations in a year when the world comes to Africa to witness the sport's biggest spectacle for the very first time, have have failed the continent, by letting a security breach of this magnitude to take effect. Rebels in Cabinda, a province in the northern part of Angola managed to steal the excitement and confidence of both spectators and players at the showpiece. The Togolese team that came under attack in an incident in which three people were killed, are now considering pulling out of the tournament. The participation of other teams is also in serious doubt.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
The South Korean World Cup team has landed in South Africa to play friendly matches against local teams as part of their preparations for the big tournament in a few months. The Asians are upbeat about their chances at the 2010 mega showpiece, they are sitting in Group B which comprises Argentina, Nigeria and Greece. This World Cup has a historic element for South Korea as it will also feature North Korea who are pitted against titans Portugal and Brazil plus Ivory Coast.