Another report from reggae supergroup Steel Pulse. This one is submitted by Selwyn "Bumbo" Brown, founding member - vocals, keyboards, and philosopher. SoccerBlog.com asked Steel Pulse to send us their opinions on this, the first World Cup in Africa. Steel Pulse is currently on tour.
Dear SoccerBlog fans,
I'd just like to say how fantastic it is to be witnessing the first ever FIFA World Cup to be hosted in Africa. Even more significant is the fact that it is being staged in South Africa, considering the decades of injustice that the country endured under the Apartheid regime.
I was actually in Africa (Tunisia) at the time the announcement was made and you could sense the anticipation and excitement that everyone felt, knowing that for the first time the world's biggest sporting event would be taking place on African soil. Even the other African countries bidding for the event were happy that South Africa was chosen to honour the occasion!
After watching the opening game I thought how appropriate it was that South Africa scored the opening goal, and what a goal!! Even though South Africa lost today it doesn't take away from the magnitude of the achievement and sense of pride that the people should continue to feel. As one commentator said recently the South African people should rally round the rest of the African teams still in the tournament as this is truly an occasion for the whole continent to cherish. Bless Africa.
Here are some other observations on the Cup so far:
- Before England played the USA I said to several people that they shouldn't write off the USA, especially as several of the US players are plying their trade in the English Premier league, one of the top leagues in world football. On top of that these same players have first hand knowledge of practically the whole English team. Tim Howard is a top keeper, still good enough to play for Man Utd, his first English club. Also one of the reasons soccer is my favourite sport is that it is so unpredictable!! At the end of the day it's 11 men (or women) against 11 and anything can - and often does - happen on the day. Now the USA and England both know they have to win both their remaining games as Slovenia are top of the group after beating Algeria, interesting times ahead!!
- I think Paraguay did really well to hold the Italians and could have actually won but for the keepers' mistake.
- It was great to see Ghana win their opening game and on balance of play I feel they deserved it, especially as Serbia tried their spoiling tactics.
- I think the Dutch team could go on to do well as they seem to have shaken off their internal problems which have held them back so often in the past. They have a history of some of the most gifted players around yet they have never won the greatest prize.
- As expected Germany got off to a winning start against Australia, asserting their game plan from the kick off. They didn't allow the Australians to get into any kind of rhythm and - to their credit- imposed their own style on the game from the off. They have a single minded attitude and have added a refreshing flair to their methodical game.
- Uruguay did really well against the French team, defending really well and adding their own attacking threat as well. The French have some great players but - as in their qualifying games - still have to prove that they deserve to be in the tournament. They're expected to do well but as I said before they have to deliver on the day.
- Argentina beat Nigeria but they too have to deliver much more with so many reknowned world class players. Maradona will continue to inspire his team but they will have to step up their game as I expect they eventually will.
- I actually missed the Spain vs. Switzerland game but saw the highlights. I don't think they underestimated the Swiss but they lost because of the old cliche - you have to take your chances, especially in the world's premier competition. I feel they'll still come good but they have to move on quickly and put it down to a bad day at the office!!
- Well done to the South Koreans who completely outplayed Greece in their 2 nil win. Don't forget Greece won a European championship not so long ago so they're no mugs. Credit to South Korea though as they approached the game with the right attitude and they also have some talismanic players (I've always rated Ji Sung Park, even when Roy Keane was playing alongside him at Man Utd).
- As I watched the Brazil vs. North Korea game I thought the Brazilians had blown it up to the first goal. They seemed to be playing the game too casually as if they expected to win by just turning up. Hats off to the Koreans for holding them for so long but the Brazilians' confidence stepped up a notch soon as the goal went in. After that they could have scored more even though North Korea gave them a scare at the end with their consolation goal.
My tip for the eventual winners, even before the tournament was Brazil and so far so good. They just have this knack of putting in the right performances as the tournament progresses. I could be wrong but I'm looking forward to seeing if my instincts are correct.
Football: this crazy, beautiful game!!
See also: David Hinds: The African World Cup - First Impressions