Richard Jackson is blogging throughout the World Cup as he travels around South Africa from Cape Town to Johannesburg. You can follow his journey through the ‘Bolton Raider’ facebook page and on www.subsidesports.com
With two days to go until Africa hosts it’s first World Cup the atmosphere here in Cape Town is already electric. As the clock hit midday thousands of people throughout the city left their workplaces to get involved in South Africa’s most anticipated festival, filling the streets and squares to show their support for the tournament. The tone of the African vuvuzela horn may not be to everyone’s taste, but it is sure to be a signature sign of the 2010 World Cup. As the South African party approached full swing the air was filled with the sound of the vuvuzela and it certainly cranked up the volume as people from all over the world sang, danced and partied together. What I saw today was not the intimidating South Africa that is so often portrayed by the media, but a vibrant, beautiful and fun loving nation that looks set the show the world one hell of a tournament.
Cape Town is a city which boasts “an ocean to the right, a mountain on the left and a stadium in the middle”, and as we arrived at the top of signal mountain today we were given a rare view of all three. Atop this fabulous viewing point, 350metres above sea level, the iconic peak of Table Mountain was still hidden beyond the clouds, although the newly built Green Point Stadium could be seen in all it’s glory. Dominating the lower landscape, this 66,000 capacity arena will host the tournament’s first real sight of World Cup contenders on Friday, with France entertaining Uruguay in Group A. Le Bleus no longer possess the wealth of world class stars that graced their side a decade ago, but with the likes of Anelka and Ribery on the team sheet they cannot be written off. Whilst making this report at the highest point Signal Hill, I was lucky enough to see BBC pundit and Mexico ’86 golden boot winner Gary Lineker, who was making his own slightly higher budget report. When I asked him for his tip for the trophy Lineker smiled casually, replying “if only I knew”, although he emphasised that from an analysts point of view Spain were the team to beat. It’s an argument I’ve heard many times over the last few weeks but if Spain are to lift to trophy on June 11th they will be the first team since the French to win consecutive World Cup and European Championships. It will be no easy feat, although they are perhaps the only side that boasts a squad as strong as the French had in Euro 2000. For the time being however, the focus will be more off the field than one it and regardless of whether the Bafana Bafana can get a result from a difficult Group A, you can bet the South Africa’s will enjoy the party.
Richard Jackson (The Bolton Raider) for Subside Sports