With so much of what’s wrong in the
world dominating headlines internationally, it was refreshing on Friday to see
the start of the World Cup in South Africa.
The soccer matches on offer this
weekend were thrilling enough to draw even the most hard-core United States
football fan to the telly cheering on adopted favourite teams.
And who couldn’t help but root for
home team South Africa against Mexico in the kick-off game on Friday morning?
Even if you’re not a die-hard
soccer fan, it has been hard not to get excited and caught up in the hype of it
Every four years, some the best
athletes from 32 countries meet each other on a pitch to compete in what is
arguably the world’s largest sport.
For the next few weeks, the world
is going to have South Africa in its sights.
Sports tournaments are excellent
for focussing attention on host nation’s sites and it’s a sure bet that this
event will do much to improve South Africa’s stock on the international scene.
This is the first time the World
Cup has been held in the African continent and six teams from the area were
chosen to compete. While none of them is predicted to be among the finalists,
their picking has given the country hope and pride.
That has been evident by perusing
South American newspapers online throughout the weekend.
“Today, South Africa finds itself
at one of the most significant moments in its young democracy because it feels
like we’ve been afforded another miracle in the lifespan of our nation,” read
an opinion piece in The Times.
One editorial even noted that, for
perhaps the first time, white South Africans are changing their behaviour to
accommodate black people without being coerced by the government.
Indeed, throughout the games, we
are seeing all colours of people from a variety of nationalities unite in the
spirit of friendly competition.
If you haven’t caught World Fever
yet, get it.