I felt slightly guilty when I read one of the comments on my last post, accusing me of wasting time on trivialities like football, on a blog that is meant to be about world affairs. Well, the two subjects have just merged in a rather tragic fashion – with the attack on the the Togo team bus at the Africans Nations Cup in Angola, which left three people dead.
With astonishing insensitivity, the Angolan government put pressure on Togo to stay in the tournament, promised to “guarantee” their safety. They even put it about that it was partly the Togo team’s own fault for travelling by coach rather than air. Unsurprisingly, the Togolese team has nontheless withdrawn. And I wonder how the other teams that are based in oil-rich, rebellious Cabinda enclave will be feeling - they include the Ivory Coast side, who are the favourites for the tournament and are packed with Europe-based stars. I don’t suppose they will be feeling too happy, at the moment.
Another bunch of people who will be feeling uneasy are the organisers of the World Cup in South Africa, which will take place in June and July. Danny Jordaan, the man running the tournament, has already been all over the media – sounding simultaneously reassuring and exasperated. Angola and South Africa, he keeps emphasising, are different places. If Germany could have a World Cup, shortly after the Kosovo war, South Africa can host the tournament, whatever is happening elsewhere in southern Africa. Read more