Foot­ball heaven

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

And so the first week of the World Cup has suc­cess­fully been ne­go­ti­ated. Last week we were elated when the open­ing went off with­out hitch and Bafana Bafana held on for a gutsy draw.

This week, the na­tional team’s for­tunes went the other way and the team faces an up­hill bat­tle to qual­ify for the sec­ond round. If they do, as the en­tire nation wills them on, it will be an un­prece­dent-

ed achieve­ment.

But the great­est is­sue for the rest of the soc­cer world is the vu­vuzela. This is not just an in­cred­i­ble turn­around, it is also an amaz­ing achieve­ment.

Many fans – and their po­lit­i­cal and sport­ing lead­ers – were at first du­bi­ous of our abil­ity to host this four-week spec­ta­cle and whether we could guar­an­tee their safety.

Now, their great­est con­cerns are rather more triv­ial – no­tably whether the vu­vuzela dis­tracts teams and dam­ages fans’ hear­ing. For those who never made the trip, but are watch­ing from back home, the biggest is­sue is how to drown out the drone.

Like­wise a comic opera that has been play­ing out on the side­line – of a beer com­pany’s at­tempt to sub­vert Fifa’s strict mar­ket­ing rules – has made world head­lines.

In truth, the top-notch prepa­ra­tions for the World Cup have al­most re­sulted in a pleas­ant an­ti­cli­max. The polic­ing and pros­e­cu­tion of of­fend­ers has be­come so stream­lined it has reached lev­els of effi- ciency which of­fer a glim­mer of hope for an im­proved jus­tice sys­tem come July 12.

On this front we need to bear in mind that while

jus­tice de­layed is jus­tice de­nied, ex­pe­dited jus­tice, too, has in­her­ent dangers.

We are all in­no­cent un­til proven guilty. We are also all en­ti­tled to a fair de­fence.

A week into the World Cup we are now look­ing for­ward to Foot­ball Tues­day, at least for next week. None of us should be fair-weather fans; we should sup­port our team through thick and thin.

More than that, though, we’ve got the in­cred­i­ble, once-in-a-life­time priv­i­lege of host­ing the World Cup in our back­yard.

It’s not Foot­ball Fri­day, it’s foot­ball heaven, all the way to Sun­day July 11.

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