I’ve always been an “SA-positive” South African. Especially since 1994 and that small matter of us becoming a democracy. But this most stunningly beautiful of all World Cups has the bell at the top of my Positiv-o-meter clanging like Oprah Winfrey running wild and loose in the Durban Philharmonic Orchestra’s brass section.
I want to have a word in the shell-like (ear) of the editor of London’s Daily Star, a rag for which South Africa as host country of the world’s premier football competition was total anathema. A gutter-press tabloid which trotted out every potential disaster it could think of as reason why a World Cup in our chaotic, useless cadaver of a country at the southern tip of parlous Africa would fail.
Then I would take him into a padded cell, truss him up in some seriously heavy-duty rope, hold a blowtorch close to his left big toe and firmly tweak his lying nose every time he blinked. No, I’m not all that happy with him.
Um. Where was I? Oh, yes. I was at the Fifa Fan Fest on Durban’s beachfront for Brazil vs Portugal last Friday afternoon. I want to run you through that a bit, if I may.
First, the huge area cordoned off for fans to watch the match on a ginormous screen happened to be almost entirely comprised of warm, golden sand. Beach bliss. The weather, as is typical of Durban in mid-winter, was warm, even sultry. Everything was fantastically well organised and I didn’t have to wait long to get my hands on a boerie roll (boerewors roll, a kind of hotdog but only way better).
Most people wore shorts with their vuvuzelas and were impeccably behaved despite many drinking vast quantities of beer. It was a blast and only Brazil v Portugal, neither having to try too hard to qualify for the final round, let the side down.
Oh, I’ve got a couple of pics to portray the general vibe of the elated throng enjoying the beach party while watching a bit of World Cup football. Here we go…
Thousands had a jol (party) as the match played out on the giant screen. Nice.
And nobody enjoyed it more than The Popsicle, who made sure she had the best view of all the action
It's not all bad watching World Cup football on warm sand just a handful of metres from the Indian Ocean
I made a new friend in Luyanda (2) who was dead cool in his outsized spectacles. All pix: Marcelle Delew-Kappen
All in all, not an entirely shabby afternoon/evening. I thought I coped quite well with it. No problems, a beautiful vibe. South African ubuntu (togetherness) at its very best. Well done to Durban’s Fan Fest. Wait. I’ll go further than that. Well done, South Africa. And I mean all of you. All of you “SA-positive” people who have embraced this World Cup and offered the traditional warm hand of friendship to our foreign guests.
You are all beautiful. So wonderful that I’m going to give you the rest of the week off work. Just tell your boss that I said so. Just do it. He’ll understand. You deserve it.
In the third of my weekly interviews with the beautiful characters of my home village of Stanford (Western Cape), I posed the “Big Five” questions to Rosalind “Roz” Nale of the homelier-than-home Galashiels Lodge, a family-run guesthouse in the middle of town.
Here she is…
One very happy Stanford family: Grant, Roz and Griffin Nale
FH:Please give us a little personal background, Roz. Where were you born, schooled, shaped as a person and when and how did you first discover our magnificent village of Stanford? And when and how did you and Grant hook up?
I feared the worst when World Cup 2010 Local Organising Committee head honcho Danny Jordaan said that vuvuzelas would only be banned at this World Cup if they were thrown on to the field of play or used in an irresponsible fashion.
There goes our vuvu, I thought. All it takes is one plonker to chuck a vuvu – hopefully well aimed – at Cristiano Ronaldo and the big beef will be confiscating them off us at the gate quicker than you can say “Paaaaaarp”.
But all has been well. Because all South Africans, and most of the foreign visitors who have embraced this friendliest and most peaceable of World Cups, don’t want anything to spoil the world’s most massive party of the year.
But, it agonises me to say, we have found that one plonker. One German idiot who got drunk, got upset at a policeman who was trying to direct traffic around the football crowd and then attacked the cop with a vuvuzela, reportedly “seriously injuring” him.
Schweinhund! Not ideal. Take a young German (you could easily replace that with Englishman, of course), bucketloads of beer and a long, plastic trumpet (ie. vuvuzela) and our entire enjoyment of this, the most flawlessly beautiful of all World Cups, is put at risk.
Dear World Cup visitors, please note... the correct way to enjoy yourselves with our vuvuzela. Thank you.
But wait. Where did this dumbkopf carry out his vuvu violence? It pleases me to say that terrible trumpet travesty took place north of Duisburg in Germany, not anywhere in our well-chilled South Africa with its almost zen-like World Cup “hosts with the mostest” party vibe.
A newsbreak by Bleacher Report reads… “As German fans in Dinslaken, north of Duisburg, made their way home after Die Mannschaft’s victory over Ghana on Wednesday, one pissed-up supporter began taunting a police officer directing traffic around the crowd. The police report reads:
“As he turned to the 20-year-old, the man suddenly began hitting and kicking the officer. Furthermore he began pounding the officer’s head with a vuvuzela.”
Bystander accounts claim it took three people to take the vuvuzela-wielding wildman down, while the police officer has been officially declared unfit for duty due to ’severe [head] injuries’ and, we suspect, the shame of being tamed by a plastic horn.’ ”
Not lekker (nice). But due to the Germanness, nay, North Europeanness of this incident, let us hope that it remains isolated to that region of the planet. Any more of this disgraceful behaviour and I, the most ardently “SA-positive” supporter of this 2010 World Cup, will demand that the perpetrator be brought to my padded cell here at Hatman Mansions and summarily dealt with. I think that I may have thought of another use, which suggests itself as most suitable punishment, for our vuvuzela!
OK. Now get back to blowing up at storm as we continue with this insanely gorgeous World Cup!
Look. There are times when I feel like I’m groping in the dark on this blog. And this is definitely one of them.
I’ve been linked on to the London Guardian’s fantastic World Cup fans’ network for this football fandango, the best thing that’s happened to South Africa since the invention of Marmite, and I’ve been tweeting out comments on the matches for the past three weeks.
Tweets often pop up from women, proclaiming one or other player as somebody so hot that they would consider giving up their paradisical South African lifestyle to become part of that player’s concubine in a mansion outside Madrid or Manchester or Milan or Minsk or wherever.
It’s no good us just going on about a footballer’s ability to slip the offside trap or whether their somersault with triple pike in the penalty box scores a perfect 10. These women, clearly knickers-a-knotted and panting over the PVR, need to be heard. I couldn’t help them. Not until a reader, responding to my pic of that plonker Cristiano Ronaldo in his jocks sent in her personal Top Ten of Hottest Players at this World Cup.
Ready? Right. And off she goes (very breathlessly)…
OK. Thanks, Fred. So, you definitely can’t string a proper football team together with this lot but who cares? We just want to look at them, really. I don’t need to say much about them, the pictures will do the talking…
Carlos Bocanegra - USA
Super, super dark and dreamy hottie! I would omit vowels for him any day.
Lucas Neill - Australia
Aussie who will need to be consoled as his national side is continuously embarrassed. They can stick to cricket, and he can stick to bowling maidens over.
Yoann Gourcuff - France
Frenchman with dark hair and such striking oceanic eyes. Romance of love, Allez Les Bleus!
Cesc Fabregas - Spain
Spanish and Arsenal hottie. Yum.
Wesley Sneijder - Holland
The wild card of the lot. Dutch player who kind of looks a bit geeky. Like he played a lot of Diablo and now made it big and is giving the finger to all of those haters.
Itumeleng Khune - South Africa
The nation’s spiderkid. He’s been warming our hearts since his acrobatic performances in the Confed Cup last year. How cute is he? Marry me, Khune!
Carlos Vela - Mexico
Mexican hottie who also plays for Arsenal and, the best part, he is still soooo young. So he can be trained, with ease.
Alex Song - Cameroon
Another Arsenal boy who plays for Cameroon. Cheeky smile with his bushy hair and abs to drool over. (I am not biased because I am an Arsenal fan, promise).
Lukas Podolski - Germany
German jock with arms that make you want to pretend like you are falling over. Very much the preppie girl’s man.
Iker Casillas - Spain
Spanish captain and keeper. Estoy loco por ti!
* And just for good measure: Stevie G – Liverpool and England captain. He might be a barfighting chav who looks confused most of the time but I would, yes, I would…
Steven Gerrard - England. Whaaaat?!
What? You would… what? Look. As somebody who has bled Liverpool Red from age seven, Stevie G is my hero. I cherish his commitment to Liverpool FC and our club would not be the same without him. I love the way he puts his body on the line for the Mighty Reds’ cause week in and week out and he is a supremely gifted midfielder with an instinctive ability to blast goals from all over the pitch. He’s a hot footballer… but a hot guy? Surely not!
But what do I know? And what I know is this. How can Arsenal – you’re not biased? Yeah, right! – dominate this Hottielist when my club has Spaniard Fernando Torres striking a massively athletic pose up front. Why is “El Nino” not in this list? Why is he not top of this list? Is it because he is blond? Or was blond? I detect some prejudice towards dark-haired guys in this list. Surely some mistake!
So, I’ll play out with Liverpool goalscoring icon, Mr Torres…
Here's our boy. Fernando Torres - Liverpool and Spain. So, what's wrong with him, then? Hey?
Am I missing something? Maybe it’s just that, as a guy with only Liverpool on my mind, I think Fernando Torres is seriously hot. In front of goal!
What do you think? Ladies?
* This list of “hotties” was compiled by a blogging colleague. You can find her floundering in an ocean of oestrogen over at Paddlesweep where, when the football World Cup isn’t on, she usually gets her knickers in a twist over, er, cricket.
My dear Hatpeople, may I have the privilege of introducing you to writer Helen Walne. I am even more of a fan of Helen’s left-field writing style than I am of Simphiwe Tshabalala’s left-wing artistry. And that’s saying a lot. Here, in a guest post for fredhatman.co.za, Helen insists that, regardless of how beautiful our World Cup might become, she is to remain unmoved. Please stop blowing your vuvuzelas for a minute and enjoy this…
Two weeks into this World Cup and I am proud to announce that I haven’t fallen for it. Amid the vuvuzelas, the soccer pizzas, the side-mirror willy warmers and the flags, I have remained as unmoved as a parliamentarian with a mandatory gym contract, as a 4X4 enthusiast at an instant lawn demonstration or as Posh Spice at a laughing yoga convention. You get the picture.
Indeed, being unaffected by hype has always been one of my more admirable qualities. When everyone at school huddled on the steps watching their slinkies coil and uncoil their way down to the bottom field, I bit into my egg sandwich and admired my collection of eucalyptus leaves. When the other kids dashed into a flutter of flying ants, squealing and chewing, declaring that they tasted like peanut butter, I went inside and drew pictures of dwarves. And when Knight Rider came to the Southgate Shopping Centre to sign autographs next to the Biltong Den, I refused to go.
So when it comes to resisting a silly ball game, it’s a piece of cake. Besides, I haven’t been interested in soccer since Dean de Beer played goalie for the under-15 Maritzburg Lions. He wasn’t the sparkiest boy on the bus, but he had a nice mole on his cheek. Anyway, according to the wisdom of Colour Me Beautiful, I’m a summer and look bad in yellow – like a jaundiced custard slice, or Homer Simpson after too much vindaloo. And I refuse to be brainwashed by advertising.
Besides tampons, cable ties and haemorroid cream, I don’t think there’s a single item that hasn’t been given a World Cup spin. From crisps and koejawels to soap and sosaties, the advertising Beelzebubs have positively dived, sprung, vaulted and jumped on the bandwagon. Last week, even our work canteen was flogging a Wayne Rooney chicken-something, and I’m almost sure our local tearoom is selling Bafana nasal sprays.
And I wouldn’t be surprised if, over the course of the past year, we haven’t been subjected to subliminal World Cup advertising. Maybe that nice couple with the Bible who came round last week were actually secret soccer agents, burning messages into my brain with their eyes: Thou shalt wear yellow. Thou shalt paarp those plastic trumpets. Thou shalt bow down before the beautiful game. And perhaps the bitterness of the soup I ate last night was not due to a batch of dodgy lentils, but a clutch of evil Fifafia pellets designed to turn me into a polyester-wearing freak. And right now, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to believe that with every flap of their wings, the clutch of hadedas clattering overhead is disseminating subliminal pay-off lines: You will support Bafana. You will develop an interest in hamstring injuries. You will learn the names of all the players.
Pity they’re wasting their time over my house. I’m as immune as a turnip, as a Cape Town waitress is to the outside section of a restaurant or as a taxi driver is to solid lines. You get the picture.
"I have resisted the drama of the World Cup and continue to take the Drogbas for a walk in the park"
Nay, my dear readers, while the rest of the country are waving flags and swopping vuvu viruses, for me it is business as usual. Untouched by the hype, resilient to all forms of brainwashing, I will continue to go about my days with the composure of a Cumbrian tobacconist. I will take the Drogbas for walks in the neighbourhood, ignoring Joey’s penchant for peeing against every Lampard he can find. I might try my hand at baking again: rock buns, Bafana bread, scones and chocolate Rooneys.
On weekends, I will not be at the Beckham call of big-screen games and badly dressed commentators Blattering on about balls and bicycle kicks. Instead, I will go for Fabio walks in the forest, and later perhaps will throw some Coles on the braai and tuck into hunks of free-range Lahm.
At night, I will not be hanging with the Pepes at fan parks, throwing precious Silva at the bar for warm American beer in unmarked packaging. Instead, I will make myself a nice cup of warm Kaka, put on some soothing Capello, snuggle up in my Thierry cloth robe and dive into a good book. And on the days when our team takes to the field, I will take advantage of the empty shopping malls, cruising electronic shops for all manner of Dudas and claiming a Booth with ocean views for a spot of sushi and a glass of French Pienaar.
See, my little soccer suckers, how easy it is to escape being plunged into a Dunga of football delirium? Witness how simple it is to avoid going Gaxa over a silly game? Say thank you and Siyabonga for presenting an alternative way to surviving the next 30-odd days. It’s as simple as a tackle on a wounded midfielder, as a pass right in front of goals or as a header into the top left-hand corner. You get the picture.
Mmmmm, I don’t feel very well. I think I’m coming down with something. Something yellow and weirdly contagious. And since our Bafana boys bowed out so bravely against the French the other night, my condition is only deteriorating.
Viva, Bafana, Viva!
* This article, one of Helen Walne’s excellent series of Human League columns, was first published in the Cape Argus. Helen’s writing has been published all over the show and she is currently writing her first book.
Right. Where are we? Oh, yes, the World Cup. Twenty-nine matches down, many more compelling dramas to come! None more so for we South Africans than tomorrow afternoon’s crunch encounter against the children of France.
Sacre bleu!Are you up to speed with what’s been going down, down, down in the French camp? And it has been very camp, more Folies de Bergere than what you would expect of a team which won the World Cup in 1998.
Let’s kick it off by watching a moerserort (helluva fight) between captain and lead dancer Patrice Evra and fitness coach and make-up artiste Robert Duverne during “training” yesterday…
Magnifique, hey? Did you see Laverne come over all Jonty Rhodes as he flung his Fifa accreditation badge out of the ground? You just have to love the French penchant for getting around a table and ironing out any creases in their fishnet stoc… I mean, their preparations for the biggest game they may face for years to come.
To sum up. captain Evra then went to sulk on the team bus, the rest of the players joined him, they got into a team huddle, had a little drizz (cry) and decided to go to play some Playstation instead of doing any training. Beautiful. After smouldering over their game consoles for a bit, the players released a statement castigating the French Football Federation for sending Nicolas Anelka, star striker and the most melancholy diva of them all, home to France after he told head coach Raymond Domenech, a man with less personality than the World Cup trophy, to (and I quote) “Go f**k yourself you son of a whore.” Nice.
So where does this leave France at this World Cup? Halfway up a drainpipe outside somebody else’s wife’s apartment in the middle of the night without their trousers on, I would venture.
And where does it leave Bafana Bafana? Needing to beat the French team, as hopping mad as a wheelbarrow full of frogs, by at least three goals in Bloemfontein tomorrow night. If they even turn up. Fine. There’s never been a better time to do the seemingly impossible, or what seemed impossible before the start of this World Cup.
And, as if Aaron and the boys needed any further motivation, here’s a little statement Julius Malema, ANC Youth League president and No. 1 fan of this blog, sent me this morning: “I urge all South Africans to get behind Bafana Bafana and blow their vuvuzelas like never before to help us get the result we need to progress to the final round. I have faced many challenges in my life and I know that the best time to kick a man in his trouser is when he is trouserless. And these French agents, who colonised a large part of Africa and who now seem to only have people from countries they colonised in the team, have nothing left in their trouser. I have enjoyed seeing the imperialist teams of England, Italy, Portugal and France struggle on African soil and they must not be allowed to colonise our World Cup and take it home. Viva to the 11 men representing the eternal struggle, Viva!”
Nice, JuJu. Very well put. I don’t know how to follow that so will play out with a nice little tune to send the “SA-positive” gees (spirit) soaring even higher…
If any country can produce a miracle, it is ours. Viva, Bafana, Viva!
So, in this extraordinary piece of video, Wayne Rooney can be heard having a little post-Algeria match rant against the England fans who booed the team in Cape Town last night.
Have a watch… and then we’ll, how does one say, break it all down…
That’s right. That’s what he said. Something like “Nice to be booed by your own supporters.” Just a drop of sarcasm in there, my Hatpeople.
OK. Two points I’d like to make.
1) I applaud, not boo, Wayne Rooney for feeling passionately enough about playing for England to say that in the first place. But I would also boo him and the other England players for not finding it in themselves to produce better football than the rubbish we are seeing from them at this World Cup.
2) What does he expect? People don’t work their sweet asses off week in, week out for four years to save up enough dosh to spend a few weeks on the other side of the world… only to watch the national team perform like the Green Point under-14 D team. If Rooney’s disappointed, then how do the fans feel? Directly, or indirectly, it is the fans’ money which makes Wayne Rooney and his team-mates among the highest-paid sportsmen in the world. If I were an England fan, I’d have every right to expect more value for my money.
And the English media, which feeds off the travails of England’s football “gods”, is primarily to blame. It builds them up every four years to be the best thing since, er, Alf Ramsey’s world conquerors of 1966. And then, yes, takes a vicarious pleasure in knocking them down to being mere mortals again when they fail.
Methinks there is something rotten in the state of England. And it is somehow manifested in that piece of video we just watched.
Eureka! After poring over my old Casio calculator for one hour and failing miserably, the boys at Kickoff magazine have come to our rescue!
Due to my acute IDD (Intelligence Deficit Disorder) and my old maths teacher’s propensity for chalking up insane maths formulas on the blackboard with one hand and almost immediately wiping them off with his duster in the left hand, my competency at adding 14 plus 8 and subtracting six and getting he correct answer is about as good as Raymond Domenech’s ability to get the best out of his French team.
But you didn’t need that information. This is what you need to know… cue Kick-off’s clever-clogs calculus:
“Mexico’s 2-0 win over France in their 2010 World Cup Group B clash in Polokwane on Thursday night has left Bafana Bafana on the brink of elimination from the tournament.
Although still mathematically in the competition, Bafana now need to hammer France in their final pool match on Tuesday in Bloemfontein, and hope that one of Uruguay or Mexico does likewise to each other.
A draw between the Mexicans and the Uruguayans would put both South Africa and France out, and the chances of a ‘contrived’ result is high.
Don't put it past Dirty Diego and his South American amigos to contrive a draw and break South African hearts. Even after all the hospitality we've shown them! Pic: The Guardian
The only thing counting against that from a Mexican point of view is that a draw would mean they finish second in the pool and more than likely would then play Argentina in the second round.
Mexico might well think it is worth going for the win and try to top the group, which would mean they face one of South Korea, Greece or Nigeria in the Last 16.
One scenario for Bafana is that they beat France 3-0 and hope that Uruguay beat Mexico 2-0, which would leave both them and Mexico on a zero goal-difference, but Bafana would advance on goals scored.
The bottom line is that Bafana need to make up a five-goal swing on goal-difference over Mexico, and six goals on Uruguay, and that will only happen with two one-sided results in the final round of Group A matches.
France are in the same boat, needing to brush aside Bafana and hope that there is a win for either side in the other game.
Qualification is now very much in the hands of Uruguay and Mexico, and how they handle the situation on Tuesday will be interesting to watch.”
So, if I understand that correctly, should Mexico and Uruguay draw, we’ll be solidly in the dwang and demanding that Fifa conduct a thorough investigation into match-fixing, right?
So you’re slumped over your desk, waving a tear-stained segment of ultra-soft double-ply at the imaginary Uruguayan who has conducted a ghost-like coup of Thandi’s workstation opposite you? And his sneer is doing a damn good job of imitating that of Diego bloody Forlan standing over yet another free-kick?
Understandable. But wait, bru. All is not lost. Listen up. Hope springs eternal… and here it is: Tonight, Mexico holds France to a draw; then while Uruguay are thrashing Mexico, Bafana Bafana produce the performance of their lives to beat an unhappy French team beset by internal wrangling and characteristic petulance.
Result? We go through to the next round with – I struggle to even type out their name – Uruguay. See? How are you feeling now? That this is delusional? Fair cop.
But I remind you that this is football. Unscripted drama. The Spanish don’t need reminding of this. Ranked second in the world, they contrived to be beaten yesterday by Switzerland, ranked 24th by Fifa. Anything can happen in a high-intensity football match… and usually does.
Oscar-winning stuff: Uruguay cheat Suarez swan-lakes it to terra firma after trailing his left foot to catch Itumeleng Khune's outstretched leg and sneak the penalty which devastated the hopes of the South African nation. Infidel!
So, last night we were beaten by a national team that Fifa rank 67 places above South Africa. Where is the shame in that? I’ll tell you where the shame lay. Who were the so-called Bafana Bafana fans who packed up their shiny-new vuvuzelas and traipsed out of Loftus before the match had ended? Shame on them. Fairweather supporters! Scoundrels!
Do they have any idea how that feels to a Bafana Bafana team which has laid its collective body on the line for our nation? I hope that a thousand sharp-clawed tokoloshes visited their anatomical extremities as they lay treasonably under their duvets while the rest of us clutched our heads into the wee hours!
OK. So let’s hold a short post-mortem on what happened last night. It all looked quite pretty in the beginning, our boys pushing the ball around as choreographed by coach Carlos Alberto Perreira. Uruguay hung back, got men behind the ball, got themselves quickly to the man on the ball and gradually got the better of Bafana Bafana.
Our cohesiveness dissipated as Uruguay found their stride, denied us space in which to work the ball forward and generally harried our men into making ill-judged passes. There would be a neat one-two – or even a one-two-three – and the move would founder against our opponents’ rush defence.
We weren’t allowed to make use of our wings and got squeezed into the middle until we were dispossessed, allowing the combative Uruguayans to launch fast and fluid counter-attacks. Aaron Mokoena, who has been a tower of strength and stability, was reduced to the shakiness so apparent among his fellow defenders and it was only desperate tackling which denied early goals.
Then Forlan decides to do something never witnessed by the Manchester United fans he frustrated for so long. He scored what might be remembered as the goal of the tournament, helped by the ear of Mokoena pinballing his super-strike over and behind Itumeleng Khune and into the net. You cannot defend a goal like that. There is no legislating for such a marvellous thing. They just happen. And it happened to us.
What also happened to us is some dodgy refereeing. Mixed with a big drop of dodgy deception from Suarez who, I believe, trailed his foot over Khune’s lunge so that limbs were allowed to collide. Suarez swan-laked it to the ground and, of course, referee Massimo Busacca fell for it too. Like a Busacca potatoes. Penalty. Bang. Game over. End of story.
Until the next match. Yes, we need other results to go our way but, believe me, there will be many twists and turns to come. That is the beauty of football. and this is the beauty of our World Cup Wonderland. Feel it. It is here to bless our lives in more ways than you can imagine. Whether Bafana Bafana, who are punching above their weight at this tournament, progress or not… this World Cup represents so much more for our nation.
We are blessed to have this wondrous thing in our midst in our lifetimes. Continue to embrace it, my fellow South Africans. Be “SA-positive”. Lift yourself from your eye-moistened desk, look at your Uruguayan tormentor in the eye and gee vir hom ‘n moerse klap. Oops! I meant to say, “smile and wave”! Now get out there and show the world what we are made of. Gees. And ask of our beloved Bafana Bafana to show the same against France. They won’t let us down.
And, those of you who dumped your “SA-positivity” in the seat you prematurely abandoned last night… South Africans don’t do that. Keep it real. I’m watching you!
* I have joined the London Guardian’s phenomenal World Cup Fans Network for the duration of the World Cup football finals. If you would like to read what I’m saying about Bafana Bafana and get tongue-in-cheek tweeted updates during the matches, follow my tweets by following me on Twitter! If Facebook is more your social media thang, go to my Facebook profile and request to be a friend or simply join the \”Fred Hatman\” group for updates on my latest blogposts.