With less than a year to go for the 2010 FIFA World Cup football fans around the world are restless and can't wait to hear the first whistle blow! After all, it's a four year wait before one gets to see world class football that's pure magic! And the countdown has begun. This World Cup will be the 19th tournament and it's all set to take place in South Africa. So, keep the 11th of June to the 11th of July aside for some adrenalin pumping action!
It will be the first time that the World Cup is being hosted by South Africa. Nine cities across the country are being readied in terms of infrastructure and operations. Thousands of fans and tourists are expected to descend on South Africa to watch their favorite teams take centre stage in their national team uniforms. Overall, an estimated six billion people will watch the matches worldwide.
The CEO of the World Cup Organizing Committee, Dr Danny Jordaan admits that it's been a tough road at times, but he finds inspiration in the men and women who have worked tirelessly to ensure they go from the planning to the playing stage. "When you look at them and you look in their eyes you get a sense they've all decided, 'we won't let you down, we won't let the country down', and that they're going to make this work," says Jordaan. He hopes that when the final whistle has blown, Nelson Mandela and the many other freedom fighters will be smiling in the realization that the World Cup was delivered by both black and white coming together, that all their efforts and sacrifices were not in vain...
This World Cup's mascot is Zakumi, a cute leopard with green hair! He was born on the 16th of June 1994, the year that apartheid ended. The 'Za' in Zakumi is the international abbreviation for South Africa and 'kumi' means ten in many African languages. It also means 'come here' in some southern African languages. The green and yellow colors of the mascot stand for the host nation's flag and playing strip. Zakumi's designer, Andries Odendaal, explains that the animal's green hair was designed to provide camouflage on the football pitch.
With the qualifiers taking place, the heat is already on! There's been a global rush to apply for tickets to the 2010 World Cup. Bets are on as to who'll make it and who'll be left out. Some traditional favorites are already facing a tough challenge to qualify!
Putting aside relocation rumors, resettling controversies and preparation deadlines, the first FIFA World Cup in the African continent is all set to take your breath away! So, get your custom soccer jerseys out and get into the spirit of things! If you don't you're your favorite teams soccer jersey, it's high time you picked one up or you might not get any later! After all, we're talking about the World Cup here and fans are seriously loyal when it comes to supporting their favorite team!