The World Cup has kicked off, and our entire country has a severe case of ‘Football Fever.’ People that have never watched a game of football in their lives are suddenly glued to their television sets; the talk on the streets is all about football. The net result: South Africa is a great place to be right now. Restaurants, pubs, and bars are constantly full, and the streets are a very pleasant place to be. As a huge fan of the sport and my country, I feel a great deal of pride in what we have achieved thus far – and the tournament is only a week old.
Last week I found myself shocked by the news: Younus Khan–former captain of the Pakistani national cricket team–had been named “ambassador of football” for the upcoming FIFA World Cup in South Africa by the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF). But why a cricket player as the ambassador of football?
During a recent visit to Lahore’s cricket team camp, former Pakistani football coach George Kottan remarked that four or five of the Pakistani cricket players were also talented football players. Younus Khan, Kottan said, can play just as well as any European player. Though football is very common in this part of the world, due to a lack of legendary players and a poor show of attention from the PFF, the national team is still waiting to see its name among the leading teams.
Yellow tricots are in – at least with the goalkeepers of France (Hugo Lloris), Uruguay (Fernando Muslera) and the South African team. Will this be a World Cup of yellow goalkeepers? Or is this just the beginning of a kind of fashionable extroversion?
For those goalies, who don’t wear yellow, one wonders, if they would’ve liked to, as in the match of England versus the US. In that match, only the referees wore the color yellow, and so it was forbidden for the players. But maybe the uniform as a test in extroversion is still developing itself in a way. How would it be with combinations of light purple and kitschy green or a no less elegant mix of turquoise and cherry red? That could be interesting.
Marius Hulpe, born in 1982 in Soest, studied creative writing and cultural journalism in Hildesheim, Potsdam, Berlin, Leipzig and Zurich. Since 2002, his poems, essays and prose have appeared in newspapers, magazines and on the radio.
He works as an editor of the lifestyle magazine “lit.07″ and at the literary magazine “Am Erker” as an assistant director; he was co-editor of the book “Landpartie 2008”, which he recorded in 2009. In 2008, his first poetry book “Wiederbelebung der Lämmer” was published by the Ammann Verlag, distinguished with the LCB Grant of the Berlin Senate and the Literature Prize of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia.
As defending champions, Italy will definitely be one of the leading contenders for victory at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Besides Italy–who won the cup in succession in 1934 and 1938–Brazil is the only country to have won two World Cups in a row. Italy has won a total of four World Cups–and Brazil five–since the very first World Cup tournament was held in Uruguay in 1930.
With the World Cup rapidly approaching, football fever has started warming up the cold Cape of Storms. If you haven’t been to Cape Town before, you’d be forgiven for not knowing the length of the cold season here on the southern tip of Africa. The winters are traditionally cold and wet, but with the buzz surrounding the World Cup, residents and the few tourists who are already here are paying no mind to the weather. For the first time ever, the World Cup is being played on African soil and there is a great sense of pride flooding the country.