South Africa prepares to welcome to world

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 http://www.subsidesports.com

I wasn’t planning to write a blog today, although after going into Cape Town city centre this morning the atmosphere was so incredible I really had no other choice. It’s more than four hours before South Africa lifts the curtain on the 2010 World Cup, yet nearly 1,500km from Johannesburg the streets are already alive with the deafening sound of the vuvuzela. Everywhere you look the golden shirts of South African Bafana Bafana fill the streets and whilst there is a healthy following of fans from all over the world, especially from France and Uruguay who play later tonight, it is nothing compared to the home support. Today really is not about winning or losing for the South African’s, they are already thrilled to be hosting the worlds most prestigious tournament, although with this level of support they will always have a chance.

Come 4pm the 95,000 capacity Soccer City Stadium will be more akin to a rock concert than a football stadium and like any great performers South Africa need a front man. Everton’s Steven Pienaar must be the main man today if Bafana Bafana are to get a result today – he is the most talented player the South African’s have by some distance. Importantly the South African’s are also blessed with a genuine goal threat, No.9 Ketlego Mphela, who is the PSL’s top scorer. If Mphela can keep his cool in Johannesburg’s a pressure cooker he will become an instant hero. Souh Africa are an unknown quantity, they pass the ball well in the middle of the field although they often lack a cutting edge as their play becomes predictable. Today is a day for South Africa to show the world what they are made of, they must express there attacking play and allow there offensive fullbacks to push forward if they are serious about progressing to the knock out stages. You can absolutely guarantee the fans will play their part off the field – it is now down to Pienaar and co to do their work on the field.

Richard Jackson (The Bolton Raider) for Subside Sports

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