Saturday, April 24, 2010

Newsy: Countdown to the World Cup

South Africa celebrates as the countdown to the 2010 FIFA World Cup reaches 50 days.
"The biggest stage creates the biggest drama." (ESPN)
Soccer fans — prepare to start seeing that commercial a lot in the next few weeks. Today is the beginning of the 50-day countdown until the 2010 FIFA World Cup begins.
In Kimberly, South Africa citywide festivities marked the date and South African President Jacob Zuma spoke to press about the importance of the tournament to his country: "This is the single greatest opportunity we have ever had to showcase our diversity and potential to the world. We must rise and tell the story of a continent, which is alive with possibilities and resilient people who embrace people from other nations and cultures."
World Cup Organizing Committee officer Danny Jordaan told the Mail and Guardian Online that South Africa welcomes the attention: "This defining moment will last a full month, a moment where the attention of the world will be nowhere but right here in South Africa."
But not every citizen is looking to celebrate the upcoming tournament. Sky Sports News writes the opinion of some protesters who have led several violent rallies over the past month: "The government would have been better advised to plough resources into housing, health care and education instead of taking on an obscenely expensive and superfluous project such as the World Cup."
According to The Washington Post Soccer Insider blog, these protests aren't the only concerns the tournament organizers have: "The global economy is a mess. Airfare is expensive. Safety is a concern... What does it all mean for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa? Lots of unsold tickets."
And only about half of the 64 matches are sold out. However, this week, organizers predict ticket sales will soar. ESPN explains why: "Organizers today begin the final phase of sales, literally over the counter. This for a South African public not accustomed to buying tickets online."
What do you think? Will South Africa host a successful tournament?

Writer: Amanda Klohmann

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