Posted: 11/26/2007


     Christmas Day, 1497 Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama sighted land-it was the natal day and so he named the land Natal. It was over 300 years later that the British took an interest and in the 1860's indentured Indians came across the Indian Ocean to work the sugar plantations, and now the recently named Kwa Zulu Natal has lots of coastal resorts, retirement sub divisions and South Africa's biggest port city, Durban with a distinctivly Indian flavour.

   Its a big vacation resort with miles of beaches-safe due to the strategically placed shark nets, casinos, some tacky fast food and amusement parks,dolphinarium, ShakaZulu theme park and seal pool, and the host of the FIFA preliminary draw at the Convention Centre, the day after the Soweto Derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, that is usually played in Gauteng, Johannesburg area.  The match was exciting with some great goals-the first after 25 seconds, at a full Kings Park ABSA Stadium. Next door they are building a new World Cup 2010 stadium with 70,000 seats, and President Sepp Blatter was there with his hard hat to announce the stadium workers strikes were over.

   The draw was both long and boring but gave the chance for Blatter and the LOC Local Organizing Committee for South Africa 2010 to announce cheap tickets for South African residents only and 100,000 free ones would be distributed, Danny Jordaan the 2010 chief was reluctant to get into too much detail. " I don't want to give people 3 years to beat our system getting those tickets into the wrong hands".

Of the nations present at the draw 8 of them don't have permanent coaches right now, including England, Republic of Ireland, Australia, Benin, D R Congo, Iran, and South Korea and Japan.

Durban has serious crime statistics and Oliver Bierhoff, team manager of Germany had his brief case with passport, cell phone and draw materials stolen from him on the way to breakfast.. Blatter took the opportunity to slam political meddling in soccer in Africa. There is a lack of continuity in leadership with the associations falling into the hands of the government and politicians. " it's correct that governments support football, but they should stay away from the technical aspects and composition of teams."

  The Premier Soccer League -PSL  grows in stature each year and with a new television rights bid has the 7th best TV income of all the world's leagues.  Ajax Cape Town are now top of the league after beating Amazulus in Durban, followed by Bloemfontain Celtic from the Free State despite losing 0-2 to Wits of Jo'burg, with Free State Stars in 3rd place after beating Platinum Stars 3-1.