After the World Cup, Day 1: 12 July
- Andy Rice
- 13 Jul 2010 05:56 (South Africa)
Blatter gives SA nine out of 10; The soccer is over, let the Olympics begin!; Al Shabaab claims responsibility for Ugandan final bombings; Octopus Paul retires from fame and glory; Vuvuzela is the word of the tournament.
The World Cup finals may be over until Brazil 2014, but the news cycle will dribble on for a few days yet. On Monday at a media briefing Fifa president Sepp Blatter gave “Sous Efrica” nine out of 10 for its hosting of the tournament. This far surpasses our country’s score for hosting the Confederations Cup in 2009, which was a measly 7.5 out of 10. “Nobody in the world is perfect, but the organisation of this first World Cup in Africa and in South Africa was pretty close," said Blatter, and he was only exaggerating a little bit. He’s right that the staging of the tournament wasn’t quite perfect, but we reckon South Africa would’ve got 10 out of 10 if marks had been awarded for surpassing expectations.
On Monday we were all struggling with World Cup hangovers, some literal, some metaphorical. But then the president of the South African Olympic committee confirmed that the country may just choose to take a “hair of the dog” approach to the issue. Gideon Sam said: “It is now up to the government, the national Olympic committee and the sporting community whether this country takes the decision to bid for the Games.” He added that it had not yet been decided if South Africa would bid for the 2020 or 2024 Olympics, but that the government had shown interest in hosting the games. The head of the international Olympic committee, Jacque Rogge, said a bid by South Africa would be welcome. The soccer is over, let the games begin!
Despite security fears surrounding the World Cup, among the biggest threats were a couple of pitch invasions, ambush marketing, and Paris Hilton’s proclivity for dagga. In South Africa, that is. In Uganda, they weren’t so lucky, with twin bombs exploding in Kampala during the final, killing more than 70 people. Somali group Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the bombings, and they’re a pretty nasty bunch. Al Shabaab is angry about Uganda contributing soldiers to the African Union troops stationed in Somalia. “We have made the government to feel the same pain that they are causing us in Mogadishu,” said spokesperson Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage. (Yes, that really is his name; no, we’re not sure how to pronounce it.) He didn’t comment on the fact that the bomb had targeted innocent civilians, rather than the Ugandan government.
His 100% prediction record at the World Cup has shown that Paul the psychic octopus certainly isn’t stupid. And, like all clever sports stars, he’s quitting while he’s on top of his game. There has been a fair amount of media speculation as to what Paul would do next, with a future in bookmaking or fortune telling suggested. But the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany, confirmed on Monday that Paul would be retiring. “He won't give any more oracle predictions – either in football, nor in politics, lifestyle or economy,” said one of his keepers. As a thank you for his hard work over the lat month, Paul was given a replica World Cup trophy. His glory days over, now Paul will be going back to the simple life – entertaining children at the aquarium.
There’s no question that vuvuzelas have made the loudest noise this World Cup, both literally and in terms of marketing buzz. And now even linguistic types are taking note of them. In a survey conducted by a London translation firm, 75% of respondents said that “vuvuzela” was the word of the tournament, with “waka”, “Bafana”, “Zakumi”, and “Jabaulani”, scoring only in the single digits. It might not be too long before the vuvu blasts its way into the Oxford English Dictionary as a new word of 2010. A phonetic alphabet entry of the word would certainly be of use to some UK commentators, who still hadn’t managed to get the pronunciation correct by the end of the month-long tournament. We’re glad we didn’t have to listen to them actually trying to play the instrument.
By Theresa Mallinson
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