Oui must play on

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

THOSE South Africans won­der­ing what this World Cup thing is all about will at least have an idea to­day about the pas­sions it elic­its. In Ire­land, for ex­am­ple, French Cap­tain Thierry Henry has be­come that coun­try’s least favourite hu­man be­ing af­ter he cheated dur­ing a Cup qual­i­fier on Wed­nes­day evening.

Henry used his hand to con­trol a ball be­fore set­ting up the goal which se­cured France’s place, but dumped the Ir­ish out of the fi­nals.

And closer to home, a diplo­matic cri­sis has bro­ken out be­tween Al­ge­ria and Egypt af­ter the for­mer se­cured its place in the show­piece in South Africa next June. The de­feated Egyp­tians have with­drawn their en­voy to Al­giers in protest against thug­gery af­ter the match.

Stu­dents of the game will not be par­tic­u­larly sur­prised. Foot­ball’s anti-so­cial side has of­ten been on dis­play over the years and even the in­terna- tional ad­min­is­tra­tion of the sport labours un­der a cloud.

The fact that Henry’s cheat­ing has been shrugged off by so many in the game is tes­ti­mony to the fact that the sport has a dark as­pect.

That said, the fi­nal line-up for next year’s com­pe­ti­tion in­cludes many of the world’s most gifted foot-

ballers. Kaka, Messi, Ron­aldo, Rooney, Drogba and Eto’o are all on their way to our shores.

To­mor­row marks 200 days un­til the kick-off of the first match of the fi­nals, air tick­ets are sold out and the ex­cite­ment is mount­ing.

In­ci­dents such as the Henry hand­ball sug­gest that Fifa has work to do to en­sure the game is played in the right spirit.

But off the field, it will be up to us to en­sure that we show off our best side: this is an op­por­tu­nity for the coun­try and the con­ti­nent to serve as an exam-

ple to the rest of the world.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.