Its official the World Cup fever is here. Friday’s draw for the group stages of the South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup was a milestone in African football history. This is the first time for the event to take place on the continent and with only about 200 days left to kick-off, football fans worldwide are in for a mega.
Thousands literally flocked the streets of Cape Town to participate in celebrations that will be common sight come June next year. You had to see for yourself the jubilation and excitement of the football loving crowd to have a slight picture of what 2010 would be like.
Friday was just a foretaste of what you should expect in the remaining 200 days. Coming into the draw, many fans were hopeful of a favourable outcome. With the top seeds already known, there was a glimmer of hope that maybe African representatives would at least be grouped in relatively fair groups.
I did not get the opportunity to watch the draw but i was shocked beyond belief to see the teams that were seeded in Group G. My immediate reaction was to see if the remaining African countries had any hope of making it through to the second round.
The highest ranked African team – Ivory Coast who everyone thought would make the continent proud by reaching a semis appearance were indeed handed the heaviest task in Group G. The “Group of Death” which also has Brazil, Portugal and North Korea will be where everyone turns their focus to.
Brazil are 5 times world champions and they have never missed a world cup since inception of the tournament 89 years ago. They are the most successful football nation on the face of the planet and they will not want to suffer an embarrassing early elimination.
Portugal on the other hand have a squad that is relatively young and hungry for titles and recognition. They are bound to give all the teams a run for their money. That said, Ivory will be no pushover. They have the stars to match any seasoned side. Drogba, Kalou, the Toure brothers are just some of those players.
Group G definitely is the toughest group but i believe that that is where the best football will come from. Looking at the other African nations, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon i believe they are capable of springing surprises in their respective groups.
Although it was not what many people expected, this draw has made the tournament all the more exciting. South Africa 2010 is no longer a dream but it is a reality. It is now up to the nations that are taking part to adequately prepare.