Big Picture: End of the World Cup

And so, last night brought the 2010 FIFA World Cup to a close – not (in my opinion) as exciting a game as the 3rd and 4th place between Germany and Uruguay – but for all the Spanish supporters a nail-bighting finish. Spain narrowly took the hopes and dreams away from the Dutch team in the last 3 minutes of extra time, finally giving themselves a world cup win.

Personally I found the game very scrappy and dirty, from both teams (well, the 13 yellow cards explain it all) but at the end of it all Spain just played a better game.

The closing ceremony was partly impressive, although, apart from the very nice special effects displayed the singing portion wasn’t that moving. There was a nice fireworks display at the end, one photo of which you can see in the series following the link below.

The World Cup has definitely brought us, as South African together and I can honestly say it’s made me feel more patriotic, not just as a South African, but as an African. Maybe in 2014 an African team can make it further than Ghana did this year.

As usual, the team at Boston.com‘s Big Picture has put together another great array of photographs for you. Enjoy.

After a month of matches, the 2010 FIFA World Cup Tournament is over, with Spain claiming its first ever trophy, the Netherlands placing second, and Germany taking third place. 32 teams came to South Africa last month, and the eyes of the world were upon them as television and online viewership broke records, and in many places productivity dropped sharply when matches were being played. Collected here are photos from the second half of the tournament (see earlier entries: 123), the action on the fields, and the reactions of those following the games in both South Africa and their home countries, as we bid farewell to the 2010 World Cup. (44 photos total) – source Big Picture


Spain's Andres Iniesta lifts the World Cup trophy after their final match victory over Netherlands at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg July 11, 2010. (REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko)

The Godfather

The title of this post has nothing to do with the Marlon Brando movies but with my Godfather.

It was just another ordinary day, except for Cape Town because it was the last World Cup match to be played in Cape Town with Netherlands clashing with Uruguay at the Cape Town stadium.

Late in the afternoon, a little after 5, I got a call from my brother with some distressing news – it seemed so unreal that I just couldn’t accept it as truth. I then contacted a good friend, my god brother who, for all intents and purposes is just like a brother to me to confirm the news. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s not at all that I didn’t trust my brother, whom I do trust, but I just couldn’t fathom it as truth, it just didn’t make sense.)

A few minutes later, it was confirmed, my godfather had passed away, at home, from a massive heart-attack. Just like that, once again, the world is a little different.

The plan after work, usually around 6 in the evening, was to join friends along the fan walk (since our office is right on the fan-mile) towards the stadium, just for the spirit of it all, then head back and when things had subsided a little, head home. Since the office is right on the fan-mile, trying to drive is next to impossible, so I’m forced to wait.

We walked the fan-mile, and under normal circumstances, I’d be taking it all in, the sights and sounds, but today was just different. The only thing I can really recall, while walking the 2.5 km stretch there and back, was the Caltex garage on Somerset Road.

Why on earth, a garage, you’ll ask. Well for many years, my godfather owned and ran the Caltex garage in Rondebosch.

My godfather has always been involved with motor vehicles so much so that after he retired, selling the garage business, he worked from home, servicing vehicles at home, for family and friends. If you had a problem with your car you could ask him or have him fix it for you. Ever since I’ve had a car of my own, my godfather has always serviced it. For one, whom better to put your trust in to service your vehicle and know that it will be serviced properly and why not support family financially.

If you didn’t know my godfather and met him for the first time, you’d probably think he was your typical older generation Greek and stubborn. But that was only one side to him, he was a smart and respected man whose home was always open.

So after heading back to the office just a little before 8 in the evening, most of the people traffic had subsided and I could leave the office and drive through to my godparents house. I hadn’t spoken to my godmother yet, I didn’t want to call as I wouldn’t know what to say over the phone.

I stayed there until a little after 10:30 in the evening. Chatting with my godmother and some friends and family that were there and helping out where I could and with whatever was needed.

The next day I arranged a half-day off to pick up both my god-brothers from the airport heading into Cape Town from London and Johannesburg. We’ve not seen one another for a while now, but this was not the circumstances that any of us thought or would have wanted to meet. But nevertheless, good to see them again and spend a little time together. I dropped them off at home and headed off to work. It’s such a strange feeling, wanting to do as much as you can, but at the same time stepping back and giving them the space they need and do what they need to do, as a family.

Today, I’ve taken the day off as in a little under an hour we’ll all be meeting at the church to say our final goodbyes and celebrate his life. It’s all still a little surreal to be honest.

Peace be with you, Nonno.

Update: Back from the funeral ceremony and wake and I realised I’ve come full circle. In the exact same church that my godfather baptised me, I helped carry him in and out of. A moving ceremony and time spent with family and friends – now, we keep moving and looking forward, cherishing those precious moments from before.

South Africa: Keep Flying

I’m gonna keep my flag flying for 30 days, because with one spirit, this nation can achieve anything. And we’ve only just begun.

Just because the World Cup ends this week in South Africa, it doesn’t mean we should pack away our flags and simply forget.

Keep flying the flag! [via Jon]

2010 World Cup: Ghana and Africa’s dreams shattered


We’re into the final day of the quarter finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup with only Argentina vs Germany and Spain vs Paraguay left before reaching the semi-finals and final games next week.

Everyone outside of South Africa was worried about being robbed of personal belongings while visiting South Africa during the 2010 World Cup, but it was in fact Ghana and the rest of Africa that were robbed last night, by one single person – his name, Luis Suarez, from the Uruguayan team.

Why, because he deliberately and maliciously stood on the goal line in the goal box while Adiyiha took the free-kick. The ball bounced around between defenders and attackers but when it clearly went towards goal and was completely missed by the Uruguayan goalie, Suarez very clearly knocked the ball clear with his hands, earning himself a red card and a penalty kick for Ghana.

But by then the game was over – it was already the last few seconds of the second half of extra time, Ghana had played their hearts out but were unfortunately beaten 4-2 in the penalty shoot out.

Along with goal-line technology that needs to be introduced by FIFA to assist referees and linesmen make more accurate calls, FIFA also needs to introduce the additional rule of awarding the team an immediate goal should such an offence be committed.

The Uruguayans are saying that Suarez took one for the team getting a red card but that’s not enough.

People were worried that the 2010 World Cup in South Africa would be controversial but the reasons are clearly very different to those originally thought of.

Ghana, Africa mourns for your loss (and theft of a win by Uruguay). May Uruguay get the hiding of their lives against Netherlands on Tuesday.

Hup Holland Hup!

If you missed it see the video below – clear as day!