SOCCER CITY changed it's name after the FIFA World Cup, back to FNB Stadium (First National Bank). Sponsors names were not allowed during the World Cup earlier this year but it hosted a big event yesterday, The TRI NATIONS Rugby Union match between South Africa and New Zealand.
It was a full house as the Springboks hosted the All Blacks, the biggest crowd ever in The Rainbow Nation for the sport, but there were not many blacks or coloured on view. Probably more on the field than in the stands. The only black faces I saw were three politicians in the posh seats, including Irvin Khoza. I watched the last 20 minutes or so with the home team leading throughout, until the last minute or so. Captain John Smith was playing his 100th match for The Springboks, but it was not to be. The All Blacks won and took the title with a match to spare. South Africa host Australia at home twice in the next two weeks, including next weekend at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, but the All Blacks cannot be overtaken. They have won 10 of the 15 titles contested in the tournament's history.
There was a story on CNN about the Moses Mabhida Stadium down in Durban on the Indian Ocean. www.mosesmabhidastadium.co.za They have earned 1 million rand since they hosted the World Cup semi-final with stadium tours, bungy jumping (The Big Rush), a 105 metre plunge and then a swing of 220 metres, The Sky Ride to the top of the stadium, and more, and hope that South African Olympic Committee will choose their city over Cape Town as it bids for the right to host the 2010 Olympic Summer Games. The stadium was constructed to be able to host track and field and other events besides and opening ceremony.
Next January it will host a cricket match with India to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first Indians to arrive. It is also home of the PSL soccer team Amazulu who host Maritzburg United in their next home match on 29th August.
Cape Town on the other hand is in the news for the wrong reasons. The Green Point Stadium does not have enough coporate box seats for the provinsial team in Western Cape to move from their home at Newlands, while Newlands cricket ground will retain test matches because the new stadium is too small for a cricket pitch. The two local soccer team in the PSL first and second divisions attract small crowds, with the 30,000 seat Athlone Stadium, rebuilt as a training site for the World Cup even being too big. I watched Cape Town Spurs attract maybe 2,000 when they played in Stellonboch, an hour away, last December. Cape Town Ajax fare even worse at the box office.
On Monday Danny Jordaan, who ran the South African World Cup organizing committee, will be part of the FIFA 2018/2022 5 man Technical Committee, on their visit to England for 4 days, visiting London, Mancheter and Newcastle. There are 12 English cities in the bid. They just left Russia where Vladimir Putin met them and they toured a few cities. The stadiums and infrastructure is on paper and can hardly match the stadiums and transport system in England. www.england2018bid.com
It is 100 days until the 24 man FIFA Executive Committee meet in Rio de Janeiro on December 2nd to choose the host countries for both World Cups.The bid party is led by the President of the Chilean F.A. Harald Mayne-Nicholls. What they will think of such losers as Sir Dave Richards and the addition of Paul the psychic octupus to the bid team, is anybody's guess!!