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.
Everybody who knows me knows that I am so excited about this African World Cup that I could remove my clothes, sprint up the main street of Stanford on to the R43 and do a handstand on the dotted line while shouting “Laduuuuma” and blowing my vuvuzela all at the same time.
Well, I would if I had any sort of confidence that I could still do a handstand.
But you know what? As much as the anticipation of watching Messi, Kaka, Torres, Gerrard et al performing in our phenomenal new stadia gets me salivating like a dog in a butchery, there is another dimension to this beautiful event that blows my mind even more.
It is this. I know that there is a boy in some isolated village somewhere in Africa for whom watching, say, Didier Drogba drag the ball away from a defender, sprint past another and unleash a curving thunderbolt into the top corner will soar beyond excitement. It will take him into another world where, in his mind, the opportunity to do the same in 16 years’ time will become his dream.
This dream and the possibility to realise it will fill his every waking moment – and probably the sleeping ones too – and it will inspire him further to refine his soccer skills while kicking around any manner of ball on a dusty field long after the sun has set.
Yes, this World Cup will inspire an entire generation of kids to believe that anything is possible, that they too might ignite a World Cup finals with their sublime talent sometime in the years to come.
And, to celebrate the firing of the imaginations of boys in every corner of our continent, I would like to dedicate the following photography exhibition to them. Please join me in revelling in the beauty and the hope – and the dreams – expressed in these images…
He has the whole world in his hands.
Yes. I don’t know how you are feeling but I thought that this series of pictures was beautiful. And moving. Very moving.
I know that the true legacy of our African World Cup will lie not in how much money was made but in how many dreams were stoked in the minds of children across our vast, magical and endlessly fascinating continent. How many of our little people who will begin to believe that there is a possibility that their lives may be transformed by what we call The Beautiful Game.
I believe that this is why the World Cup has been sent to South Africa. Why this is the right time for football’s premier showcase event to be staged right here in Africa.
May World Cup 2010 bless these African children.
* I would like to thank Take Five and Yasha and all of the others involved with the stunning Football Made In Africa website for the use of the above images. Football Made In Africa represents the rich diversity of Africa – and Africa’s love affair with football – in the most beautiful way. Merci beaucoup!
NOTE: This blog post has been entered into the Shine 2010 Foozi Blogger Challenge competition. First prize is a Foozi Table Football game machine thingy. It’s really really cool (see pic below post!). Should I win, I will donate the football game machine to Mr Dube, headmaster of Waterloo Primary School, a school for 6-12-year-olds at Waterloo township near my home town of Umdloti, KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, South Africa. When I say that these kids – who don’t have very much at all – will love it, I cannot begin to express how much they would love it! If you enjoyed reading this blog post, please vote for it by clicking on the button below and help me to win this for the kids! Thanks! SpreadtheloveofthebeautifulgamesaysFred
The Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban’s spanking-new World Cup 2010 venue, shimmered and sparkled around me. And embraced me in her vast yet comforting, almost motherly, bosom.
This most spectacular of South Africa’s new stadia was virtually deserted. A couple of construction workers were hammering away on the north side and a lone groundsman moved around among the sprinklers which energised the summer grass freshly laid on the playing surface.
I sat in a sunblessed stand to the south of the 50,000-seater football arena and sucked in the the newness, the beautifulness of what is already an iconic Durban landmark. I wondered at the many photographs I had seen of the stadium, how they did not do justice to the actual experience of being there.
A tour group shuffled past in silence and awe and I pretended not to notice them, staring instead in stupefaction at the flamboyance of the gargantuan arch which swoops like the hand of an orchestra conductor over what must be the most open-plan yet intimate sports stadium in which I have ever sat.
Bound by the beauty of Moses Mabhida Stadium Pic: Hatman
Having this architectural gem to myself was at once eerie and mesmerising. I fell into reverie. I began to imagine the first match to be played in this heart-palpitating place, AmaZulu vs Maritzburg United on November 28. What would it be like to have thousands of fanatical supporters around me, yelling and dancing and blowing vuvuzelas and, yes, the new kuduzelas? How Moses Mabhida Stadium would be transformed into the sporting crucible for which it is supremely designed.
My mind fast-forwarded to June 2010 and the lip-smacking prospect of watching the likes of Steven Gerrard, Kaka and Lionel Messi perform their wizardry right here in the middle of Durban. My eyes glistened and closed and then I was strangely transported beyond this to a day in 2019. It is the 25th anniversary of South Africa’s first democratic government and a tribute match is being played right here, right before my very eyes, in Durban’s World Cup stadium, now nine years old.
I was storing up this latest pic of Moses Mabhida Stadium and its new lawn until my exclusive interview with a World Cup 2010 heavyweight was ready… but, sorry, I just cannot help myself.
My Hatpeople, feast your eyes on the lush green turf freshly installed at far and away South Africa’s most ridiculously exciting World Cup venue..
Goshness! Don't you want to take off all your clothes and roll in it? Of course you do.
Because that’s how we roll in Durban. With our clothes off. Well, with our year-round sub-tropical hotness, wouldn’t you? Especially if you are a poor soul somehow existing in rainy, chilly old Cape Town. But I mustn’t get started…
Anyway, if that former Man United ponce Cristiano Ronaldo is looking at this pic and praying that Portugal get drawn to play in Durban (if they qualify, which is looking doubtful), he’ll certainly get a warm reception here. And not from our legendary babes who barely wear bikinis on the golden sands just a Jan-Arne Riise throw-in from the stadium. No. From the bleed-Liverpool-red Durban hardcore supporters club, of which I am a fully paid-up member.
We’re hoping that Stevie G and the rest of Capello’s world-beaters will kick off their campaign to win their second World Cup right here in this magnificent groundbreaking stadium. And surely it shall come to pass.