Slide Tackle - World Cup curiosities

June 9th, 2010 - 9:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Johannesburg, June 9 (DPA) The question of ticketing has been one of the most controversial aspects of the World Cup and many South Africans have not only been left ticket-less, but also angry. But now even some of those who have been fortunate enough to secure a ticket to the greatest show ever to hit the continent have found a reason to complain.
Football fans trying to change the names of their guests and who phoned the ticketing help line were put through to the call centre which is based in India. Some of them complained: Talk about an African football World Cup!

FIFA’s attempts to introduce a media help line are laudable and are something that should be kept. Possibly they should have started training the volunteers a little bit earlier though as some of them seem a bit out of their depth.

A journalist phoning to ask when the official squads were to be released was asked: “The squads for what?” The volunteer said he had no idea, but promised to phone back. That was four days ago. He might still be looking for a phone.

South Africans are different. Possibly because even the most optimistic fans do not think Bafana Bafana will win the World Cup, a ticker parade was organised for Wednesday afternoon through the streets of the suburb where the team hotel is located.

That is two days before the start of the tournament.

South Africa’s coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, who knows what it feels like to win the World Cup after taking Brazil to victory in 1994, was less impressed and the bus taking the players left with some delay after negotiations about availability. Less than a dozen players boarded the bus, but they were still welcomed by thousands of vuvuzela-blowing fans that lined the streets.

NO NOSE-PICKING DURING ANTHEM: Franz Beckenbauer had seen it all. That’s why he wanted his German national team to sing the German national anthem at the 1990 World Cup. The German football legend admitted that his team-mates did not really sing the Deutschlandlied during his playing days for Germany. So one of the things he implemented at Italy 1990 was his players at least mouth the words.

“Some guys would pick their nose. Others were chewing their gum. And others were just looking around,” said Beckenbauer. The Kaiser said he understands that some of the current Germans have a migrant background and don’t want to sing. But he always did - even during his time in the United States. “The American national anthem was played before every single game. And I sang every time. For me it was a way to prepare for the game.”

SPONSORS: Seems even official FIFA partners are feeling the financial pinch. A Johannesburg-based company has had to cancel contract with several coach-hostess’ they had employed for match days. A company spokesperson explained that their client, who is an official FIFA partner, had cancelled the contract with them as they were expecting fewer guests than anticipated.

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