Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bad Calls

Sadly, after a very exciting day's football, the only thing that will be remembered is how two occasions today the referee made horrible mistakes instead of the nine goals on the tally.

A goal was inexplicably disallowed in the England vs. Germany game which signed off on the return ticket for the English team. Then Tevez scored for Argentina when he was very clearly off-side.

Maybe FIFA should bring the game to a level like all other major world sports when it comes to technology. Formula 1 uses video replays, so does cricket and rugby. Ke nako, it’s time!

Of course I also see the other side of the story where we keep going on without the benefit of technology. It’ll allow the game to stay more fluid. But you simply cannot justify this when the replays are shown on the big screens where everyone in the stadium can see and form their own opinion. It hurts the player more than anything to be honest…

Friday, June 25, 2010

Vuvuzela Button

YouTube has come along with something quite fun: a Vuvuzela button. If you go to YouTube, you will notice a little button on the bottom right-hand side of your video shaped like a soccer ball. Out of curiosity, I clicked on it, and out came a cacophony of that constant drone of the vuvuzelas. You can now add this stock vuvuzela sound to any video you watch, whether it is a politician making a speech or your favourite artist singing a tune.

Try it, it's hilarious!

Caution: if you don't like the vuvuzelas, get a life and get with the program!

Image source: YouTube; K'NAAN - Wavin' Flag (Coca-Cola Celebration Mix) by KnaanVEVO

Michael Jackson Tribute - One Year On

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, passed away one year ago today, an event which caused the internet to suffer a melt-down and a sudden outpour of love and respect for the great man.

Those who love you will always remain faithful.
Those who rediscovered your greatness will never forget it.
Those who found you at the end are fortunate.

Those who never believed will always remain insignificant to your greatness.

Thank you for being, and thank you for giving your heart and soul to us!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Another Upset

I say another, but this is the only real upset so far. Italy has been knocked out after nearly making a late come back to eventually lose 3-2 to Slovakia in injury time. The former Champions took a horrible beating throughout most of the game but the Azzurri came back with a late goal to give themselves a glimmer of hope. But with a number of tight decisions by the ref to disallow close calls, they were eventually knocked out.

Interestingly, Japan played a fantastic game today to force a 3-1 win against Denmark. This means Japan is definitely through the Group Stages and into the Round of 16. I'm still trying to catch the highlights but apparently Honda scored a rather spectacular goal early on. Can't wait to see it!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bafana Bafana!

Today Bafana Bafana was sadly knocked out of the World Cup after playing, and winning, against a French team who went into the competition already destroyed after the crazy row rippling through the French team since the weekend. Even so, Bafana Bafana raised up to the challenge and played like a team that deserved to be in the World Cup.

It's a great shame to see them go, and I am still battling down the tears, but I believe the tears of pride is stronger and I will have no problem shedding them. We played a great game of football to take France down 2-1.

Once again the French team showed their true colours with Henry playing handball instead of football. Worst of all, however, is French coach Domenech refusing to shake the hand of South African coach Parreira who promptly decided to show the French what manners meant by holding him in place and giving him a lesson in humility.

Ayoba! Viva Bafana!

And you know what? No one, not even the French, are sore to see Les Bleus go back home. Take your pathetic behaviour back home, reflect and stay there!

Image Source: euronews 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

Some Snaps

The Princes (and Beckham)

Here's them watching England vs. Algeria - after making up some rubbish excuse to go to "southern" Africa to work on their charity projects, they somehow ended up in Cape Town, at the Green Point Stadium, exactly at the same time England was playing... Suspicious!

Do they look excited? Oh wait, I meant bored as hell, like the rest of us.

Here's the two with Beckham after the famous footballer was stalked in the England dressing room by a disgruntled fan and given a good going at.

Kaká Sent Off - What Bollocks

See for yourself! Rubbish French ref (see previous post about "le fwench").

Nothing wrong here. Standard play...

And the Oscar, or the Razzie, goes to... "The Faker"

The result of a ref who based his judgement on assumption. FIFA's standards, very high indeed.

Image Source: Courtesy of BBC Sport 2010 FIFA World Cup live coverage. All screenshots taken from live broadcast, or repeats of live broadcasts.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

BBC World Cup Intermission

I'm starting to get a bit annoyed by the British TV's portrayal of South Africa now. They keep bringing up the oppression, Apartheid, and racism. This is not just BBC, but also ITV in between matches or during closing parts of the program as a documentary piece.

I'm an honest believer that we have moved out of those dark days in our great nation. There is so much more to showcase, the positive things. Our growth, our innovation, our creativity, our culture, our diversity, our country as it is now.

When Apartheid was going on... Did anyone come and help the unfortunate, the oppressed? Financial embargoes and words did not help us come out into the light. It was the persistence of the people, and eventually some pressure from the outside. If you didn't do much, then don't say things like: "I wonder why nothing was done to help?" You are sports commentators, stop trying to be political if you don't read up a bit first.

Ze Fwench

Well... The French football team has decided to display that true French tradition to the entire planet: a strike! Following the dismissal of Anelka, for swearing at the French coach after another terrible performance, the team decided to go on strike and refused to practice for a day. The Managing Director of the team also decided to quit immediately - another great French tradition: when things go wrong, surrender and run away as far as possible (re: World War II).

What do they gain from not practicing for one day, though? Granted, it's not that one day of practice will bring the miracle of having the French team score any kind of goal. But running around having an internal shouting match, deciding to boycott the Federation who put you there, and doing this all in public will just anger your own fans, if not everybody else. Keep this to yourselves... Don't bring it to the world stage.

C'est fou!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Downfall

England played really poorly last night ending up with a 0-0 draw against Algeria. It was horrid especially the English players couldn't really break through the Algerian defense, and had trouble passing the ball to each other. If you look at the stats, their short pass was terrible (72%) and crosses (0%).

When the final whistle blew, the majority of the English fans starting booing their team. This prompted Wayne Rooney to exclaim, rather sarcastically, to the TV cameras: "it's nice to see your own fans booing you." Sadly this heated comment was broadcast around the world, and the English papers did not take it too kindly.

At least they still have a chance in the final match against Slovenia, who nearly beat team USA yesterday. The US team were saved by two 2nd half goals by Donovan and Bradley, with a third goal disallowed for reasons unknown.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Slick of Oil

Well... Last night was pretty terrible when chances of South Africa making it through to the second round of the World Cup suffered a terrible blow. After conceding a goal against Uruguay, goalkeeper Khune was promptly sent off for attacking Suarez. This followed inevitably by a penalty, and a further goal.

The chances of South Africa making it through is slim, but not completely impossible. On the condition that we score a tremendous amount of goals against France, our final opponent in Group A.

Still, worse off is BP. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is still rampant, and the various solutions has not completely closed off the well. This spill has already passed the Exxon Valdez accident in terms of volume of oil spilt.

What is really strange is that we keep being told, most probably by Big Oil, that the supply of oil in the world will run out soon. Yet, we are chucking out tons and tons of oil because of this accident. Of course I don't mean to poke jokes at the horrific situation for the people on the Gulf Coast, the wildlife and environment in general. But it is a bit strange, right?

Another really odd thing is the fact that, instead of letting the CEO of BP to get on with his tough job and try to fix this problem, the US Congress summoned him in their latest hearing. From early reports, the lawmakers seem to have launched a rather pointless attack at Mr Hayward. They accused him of "stonewalling" when he could not answer questions. They said he is deliberately not willing to cooperate when he explains that for some things he was not in the decision making process so he would prefer to delay answering the question after investigation.

Do the US lawmakers not know how corporations work? Do they just spend their time trying to cash in from these "supporters" and "sponsors," then promptly trying to rip them apart when the slightest thing goes wrong?

How can a CEO answer questions about something that was decided by someone, or a group of people, several levels below him? That is not the job of the CEO of a company. Of every hearing I've heard in this category recently, it has always been the same thing. "Stonewalling..."

Get a grip, old men in the public sector. You are asking the wrong questions to the wrong people. Holding someone responsible doesn't mean forcing them into a corner and exclaiming: "we can't answer you." It would be more interesting and insightful if you allow them to prepare an answer for you, and then grill them on that. If you are decent at your job, you will be able to figure out if they lied or told the truth!

Keep in mind you force them to swear-in before a hearing to "tell the truth, and nothing but the truth." If they weren't involved and they claim so, then they probably are telling the truth...

Image Source: Krypton Zone (c) 2010 Entertainment

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Über Germany

Germany has come through, far from being the favourites, and shown what they can do. Germany scored 4 goals to win 4-0 against Australia in their opening match. They have been said to have a very much weakened team without their Captain, Ballack. Well... 4 times at the back of the net really shuts their critics up. Good job!

ENG-USA Reactions

I just read something interesting on the BBC News website describing the in-game reactions of the people, in Washington, watching the World Cup match between England and USA yesterday.

"USA, USA" is as sophisticated as the chanting ever got. There were attempts by MCs to try and add some variety, but they failed. If you've got the world's easiest chant why change?

Far more spirited was the booing as England players came up on the big screens, with the loudest jeering reserved for a stony-faced David Beckham, in his England staff role, after the equaliser.
This sounds surprisingly familiar to my experience yesterday at a, mostly, American sports bar during the game. They chanted "USA, USA" frequently (while I joined in, since I was supporting Team USA), and everyone jeering at that amazing look on Beckham's face (but how can you resist?). Good to know that Americans know how to cheer their team on wherever they go, and they keep it constant!

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post this, but how can I resist:

Quote Source: BBC News (
Image Source: 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ (screen capture during live broadcast).

World Cup Update

Well, day two is over and we haven't even scraped the surface yet. The games are looking good, and some very interesting outcomes have been achieved. South Korea managed a 2-0 win against Greece. Team USA managed a 1-1 draw against England in a very exciting match. Most importantly, South Africa drew fantastically 1-1 with Mexico in the opening match.

I've heard some differing comments on the famous vuvuzelas, making its way into international consciousness. Some like it and think it's fun, and some don't. Actually, some people have been quite violent against it. To those who disapprove of these traditional trumpets from South Africa, I say this to you:

The Vuvuzela is a cultural icon. As such, the organising body, FIFA, has been supportive of this movement. It defines South African soccer. If you're not in the stadium going slightly deaf, then you really shouldn't be complaining. Have you tried turning the volume lower? Do you prefer 80 000 air horns blaring away? Because I'm sure they are much louder and more destructive to human ears.

Every nation, every sport has it's ways to make noise to show support. People use whistles, air horns, plastic things to bang together... etc. This is how it is. And the "damage" that the vuvuzela's "can cause" is just absolute rubbish. I've never heard any South Africa reporting loss of hearing or permanent damage to their ears after attending a match.

You know what? Motor racing, especially Formula 1 during the V10 era, is far more damaging. Try go to an F1 race and you will see. Ear plugs are absolutely essential.

Just enjoy the game, and forget all this negativity. Please... It's the one opportunity every 4 years the whole world can come together and celebrate. You know what? I know I'll take flak for this, but if you don't like it... Tough!

Image Source: Krypton Zone (c) 2010 Entertainment

Friday, June 11, 2010

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™

To all Citizens of the World: the 2010 FIFA World Cup begins today, in just a few hours. Even if you do not follow soccer you cannot miss this fully orchestrated event. And, welcome to the beautiful country of South Africa!

Actually, it will be very hard to miss it, not to mention of the peer pressure of not watching!

Well, it's here. And I can't wait for it to start! Bring out the Vuvuzelas!

Opening Ceremony: 14:00 CET (should last about 40min)
Opening Match - South Africa vs. Mexico (Group A): 16:00 CET

Guess who's taken half a day off!

Image Source:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Q: "Is South Africa Unsafe?"

... This is the question I keep getting from people in Europe, especially just before I left for my last vacation a few weeks ago. My answer?

"It's not any more unsafe than any other country."

Sadly, this is not quite a convincing answer to those who pose the rather complicated question. However unbelievable, it is nevertheless the simple truth. I will stick to this answer and defend it with all my might. To try and explain my answer, below is a quick commentary piece to help.

I have lived in Cape Town, South Africa for an extended time when I was growing up. In the decade and a half, I only experienced one instance of crime (if you ignore the petty theft at school). While living in the affluent suburbs of Newlands - not too far from where former President Nelson Mandela's private residence was - we had a break-in. The thief tried to take our car radio but failed, instead destroyed the Toyota's plastic dash and then spent the rest of the night in the back seat smoking away.

When I moved in Belgium, the Capital of Europe, the home of the European Institutions and NATO, I was mugged on the fourth month in the center of town at the Grand Place. It wasn't pickpocketing but armed theft. Granted, it was some dumb teen Northern African twat with a pen knife, but still not worth too much effort to try stop. To be honest the main issue was that I was wearing winter boots and I couldn't sprint as fast as the little twerp, nor do I know the annoyingly many and small side streets there were.

I moved into downtown Brussels a few years ago and stayed there for over a year. I count about four times when I was nearly mugged outside my own door when opening the door to get back either after work or after a night out. Outside my own door?! But I managed to fight them off every time, thank goodness.

These were my experiences in the past two decades. I think it already paints quite a clear picture.

Finally, just think about it. In the past week, a gunman went to the Brussels Courts (Justice Palace) and shot a judge and a clerk. Also during this week, a cab driver in the UK decided to go on a shooting rampage killing about a dozen people.

Is it more unsafe in South Africa than anywhere else? No.

The key is to be vigilant and especially not try to be stupid. There is no need to go to dangerous areas as a tourist. There is no point. South Africa is big and interesting enough for you not have to go seek out danger to get a thrill. If you want a thrill, go on safari and piss of a lioness and get her to chase you. Otherwise, we have the tallest bungee jump in the world (200+ meters).

Always be vigilant when you are in an unfamiliar place. That's just plain logic. So I implore the press, stop sensationalising the crime rate in South Africa. It really isn't much better in the country you come from. Archbishop, and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Desmond Tutu made the same request to press recently.

Let's try to be fair and judge only on merit and deeds. OK?

Image Source: Krypton Zone (c) 2010 Entertainment

Friday, June 4, 2010

Giant Vuvu!

I have to post this... It's really amazing. There is a gigantic vuvuzela on top of the unfinished overpass in Cape Town (by the V&A Waterfront). It seems like a publicity stunt by Hyundai. Good job! Although, you might make it bright, day-glo yellow or orange next time (just a hint).

Oh, if you don't know what a vuvuzela is, just watch a game of the FIFA World Cup starting next Friday and you'll probably get it if you think there is either a fly, a bee, some other insect, or a swarm of creepy crawlies flying around you while you're watching the game. A vuvuzela is a big plastic trumpet which makes a very distinctive honking sound. It should only be one note (if played properly), and it should be piercingly loud and sharp.

Image Source: Krypton Zone (c) 2010 Entertainment

The Return

So I've been back for no more than a few hours (not even touching on a day yet), and the first thing I see is that some disgruntled person has gone into the Belgian Palace of Justice and shot a judge and a clerk. I was stuck in traffic all the way home. And having just parked my car outside my apartment, I was ticketed for not having had time to go through all the bureaucratic crap to get a parking permit yet. I nearly ran into a police patrol car who shot out of a small side street without even bothering to look. Oh yeah... the lady at the passport control at the airport was not very nice at all.

Why do people always ask me if it is unsafe in South Africa? The petty crimes can happen anywhere. The mid-level crimes can also happen anywhere but mostly in big cities (Paris, London, Brussels...) and the big crimes... well that kind of stuff can also happen anywhere. What about those crazy killings in China recently? China... China... Wait... Isn't that a communist state, where the state controls the hearts and the minds of its people? Don't they have some of the strictest security forces anywhere in the world? Aren't people supposed to be quite afraid of going afoul of the law since the punishment is so much the more intense? Yet... Hmm...

At least the passport control guys in Cape Town International Airport smiled and cracked jokes with you after flying for a whole day. Smiling doesn't exactly cost much, and since you are supposed to welcome people to your country to spend money, or in my case to pay out of my backside in taxes, you can at least try... Right?

Great... Oh well, at least I can dream.

Image Source: Krypton Zone (c) 2010 Entertainment

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

T-9 Months

Stupid BlogPress erased my previous post... Second time lucky?

What a beautiful morning it was leaving the Cape once again. The countdown begins for my return trip in about 9 months time. Thank you South Africa, and the ever stunning Mother City!

Nkosi sikeleli iAfrika!

- Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Quick Word

I haven't been very good at following up with the blog recently but it's because I'm busy and I got lazy. Apologies all around!

The Turkish GP took place last weekend with the McLarens taking advantage of a coming together of the sure winners, Red Bull Racing. Hamilton won leading a 1-2 finish of his team mate Button. Webber came a miserable 3rd when he and his team mate were in front from the start.

Another driver who benefited was Michael Schumacher, who managed to keep clean and come 4th. From what I was able to see during the race and through the live timing feeds, Schumi and Rosberg for Mercedes GP were best of the rest. The McLarens and Red Bulls were absolutely unassailable in front, but Mercedes GP was the next fastest of the rest of the pack.

Good job to Mercedes. Although some more revolutionary upgrades will be needed to keep up and try get to the front.

The biggest thing here was the Super 14 final between the Stormers and the Bulls. Due to the short time to the FIFA World Cup, the rugby game was moved to Soweto. There was a big hype about this with commentators talking about reconciliation, etc. Still the point was the Stormers were well and truly beaten. They played without aim and very sloppy. There were some outstanding plays but you simply should not continuously lose on penalties.

Leaving tomorrow, very sadly. Today's the logistics nightmare day... Very stressed!

- Posted from my iPhone