It is time for FIFA to introspect what the World Cup really means? Is it only a tournament of 32 teams or something else? Why was it decided to give this World Cup to Africa? According to my experience, World Cup football is perhaps the greatest carnival under the sun, where people from all over the world over unite with spontaneous burst of emotions and spirit, irrespective of their different backgrounds.
This was the first World Cup on African soil and came with a promise to be an exceptional show. At the same time South Africa had a point to prove that they were capable of hosting such a big event successfully, which they have indeed done, but World Cup 2010 turned out to be a simple competition, not a spectacular carnival. One reason for this might be that the Africans are too impulsive or in South Africa, fear prevailed over the joy.
All the emotions of South Africans vanished soon after the exit of “Bafana Bafana”, and after the departure of Ghana, they simply detached themselves from the tournament.
Some excitement would have still been there, if Latin American giants Brazil and Argentina could have made it to the semi finals. Two-third of the football fans who gathered in South Africa were from these two countries and from Mexico, another Latin American outfit. Since their departure, World Cup is looking forward to a scheduled completion, without much galore and glory.
In Cape Town, the picture perfect city and the host of first semifinal, I found it really difficult to get around. One could not understand anything unless someone provided information, but the people around seem to be least bothered.
Perhaps, FIFA thought that the first ever World Cup in Africa would boost the development of soccer in this continent. But they should have taken into account that in a country like South Africa, where law and order is always an area of concern with an undercurrent of xenophobia, might affect the spirit of the game.
So the expected jubilation of the football fans from different countries was missing. Even before the semifinal, one could hardly find colourful supporters around. And the much spoken about ‘Vuvuzela’ orchestra ceased to resound, turning to silence with the exit of the host country.
I am in search for the known faces of the World Cup. Can someone help?