Cape Town – Do you still remember where you were on Friday December 2, 2009?
I know where you were. And it’s not because I woke up with special powers. It was the day that 32 balls were taken from a couple of pots and exposed to the world.
If you were outside of Cape Town you were in front of your television set, waiting to see where the balls ended up, but if you were in the land of the “refugees”, you probably would have been in Long Street with either the biggest draft beer in your hand or puffing on your favourite hookah flavour.
Yours truly, on the other hand, was sitting in the Cape Town International Convention Centre, armed with my unreliable laptop and waiting for the balls to drop. In fact there were about 300 of us waiting to tell the world about which balls, big or small, were going to be up against each other.
David Beckham and Charlize Theron were amongst those people who handled the balls in front of an audience of millions around the world. Both looked really relaxed, and Charlize even made a joke, which in her Hollywood accent flew straight over most of our heads.
When the ball finally dropped, Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Perreira’s voice went down an octave or two. The South African football team then had to develop some balls.
Yep, the World Cup draw is something I will never forget.
It was actually the day when I felt “the gees” for the first time, especially after the draw when my colleagues from Joburg and I had a couple of pints with the masses in the streets.
Today is the draw for next year’s World Cup in Brazil, and it promises to be as exciting as it was four years ago.
This time around, though, the name South Africa won’t feature amongst the 32 balls, although Mzansi will probably get many mentions for hosting one of the greatest World Cups ever.
There will, however, be five teams from Africa at the biggest sports event, in terms of viewership, who will carry the hopes of the continent. And most of us will probably adopt one of them when the tournaments comes around next June.
Brazil’s journey towards the World Cup has been disastrous, with people losing their lives last week at one of the stadiums. They are apparently also not going to make the deadline to finish off a couple of their stadiums. Then there has also been service delivery protests – much like the protests in Cape Town, but without the poo.
However, it’s been bizarre that the international media companies haven’t nailed Brazil like they nailed us. The English tabloids went berserk, although it was probably to mask the shortcoming of their team, who almost used Viagra to deal with the altitude during the tournament. Let’s hope that Brazil can surprise everybody and deliver a great World Cup, because it’s bound to have the same soul and vibe that the first African World Cup had.
Tonight, though, when the balls are let loose, let’s think back to the time when we partied in the streets.
TWEETS OF THE WEEK
@GaryLineker: Gorgeous free kick from @luis16suarez gives him his 4th goal. We could have a Suarez goal of the night competition. Extraordinary talent.
@GNev2 (Gary Neville): Spurs need to take heart in Giroud improvement! Erik/Lam/Sol haven’t settled yet but they still could and I suspect will with time.
WHO TO FOLLOW
@VascoDaGamaSA: The National First Division side have won three games in a row.
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