This year’s World Cup is shaping up to be a truly magnificent – and historic – event. From Johannesburg to Durban, to Cape Town to Polokwane, the entire nation is gearing up and getting ready for the matches, which take place between June 11th and July 11th.
I ran into a man who was from South Africa today in the market. You couldn’t miss him, since he was wearing a brightly colored South Africa baseball hat and matching jacket. And he was as friendly and charming – disarmingly so – as any other South African I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
We started chatting about the upcoming World Cup, and he beamed back at me as he insisted his country was well prepared to host the exciting event.
He did admit that there was one way he thought his fellow citizens might be unprepared. He looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said, “We really have no idea what a huge impact it will have on our lives.”
That impact has already begun to be felt in the country, considering the preparations the nation has undergone thus far.
Nine South African cities will be Host Cities, which means that the tournament’s 64 matches will be played in ten stadiums.
There are two stadiums in Johannesburg and one in Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, Nelspruit, Polokwane, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria, and Rustenburg.
This is a place that has come a long way since 1961, when South Africa was banned by FIFA from competing internationally because of their reluctance to adhere to the non-discriminatory regulations of FIFA.
“When I get older, I will be stronger…”
K’naan, the artist behind the World Cup’s theme song, Waving Flag, could have been speaking for South Africa when he wrote those words. Older, stronger, and wiser.
If you happen to be lucky enough to be heading to South Africa for the World Cup, you’ll want to check out these places: