Bird’s-Eye: The most important sporting event in the world (judged by money, of course) starts today. We explore it all: an in-depth overview from the Guardian on football and Africa in general, and a scathing Znet look (their most common style, really) at South Africa and the World Cup in particular. Then we have two sets of FIFA graphics (ESPN and Charis Tsevis) and a Big Pictures set of images.
* 2010 World Cup: Is Africa Football’s Unheralded Star? The Guardian
The arrival of the World Cup – the showpiece for the world’s most lucrative pastime – in Africa, the world’s poorest continent, is clearly an event of deep symbolism. But symbolic of what? For Thabo Mbeki, who as South African president was at the forefront of the bid to host the tournament, this is the moment when Africa finally arrives on the global stage. … “ We want to ensure that one day historians will reflect upon the 2010 World Cup as a moment when Africa stood tall and resolutely turned the tide on centuries of poverty and conflict.” Even by the standards of the hyperbolic guff that always surrounds major sports events, this is setting the bar pretty high. In reality, sports tournaments rarely do much to transform the fortunes of the countries that host them – at least not for the better – let alone change the fate of whole continents. But they can tell us a lot about where power really lies. What the 2010 World Cup clearly shows is that Africa is now a serious player in the world of football.
* South Africa’s World Cup Fest Not Worth The Coming Hangover by Patrick Bond ZSpace
But balancing psychological benefits against vast socio-economic and political costs is vital, for we will hear plenty about the latter from visitors who will see us at our best and worst. One of the world’s greatest sportswriters, Dave Zirin, called Durban’s new Moses Mabhida Stadium the most breathtaking he’d ever seen, but provided us a needed reality check: “This is a country where staggering wealth and poverty already stand side by side. The World Cup, far from helping this situation, is just putting a magnifying glass on every blemish of this post-apartheid nation.”
* World Cup Images
* Preparing for the World Cup The Big Picture