Saturday, June 12, 2010


JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - President Jacob Zuma, who opened the show along with FIFA president Sepp Blatter, told the 34 000-strong crowd, “South Africa is rocking, South Africa is cool”. Then, hosting the World Cup, he said that Africa was showing the world it is “capable of handling any matter of the world”. The din of the vuvuzela crackled against an icy wind outside Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium as thousands of gold, green and red-clad fans settled in for the opening match of Africa's first soccer World Cup. Supporters tuned their monotone trumpets, some red-eyed after late night partying while others huddled under South African flag blankets and posed for photographs with masked Mexicans. Many hours before the first match between the hosts and Mexico, excitement was building with a steady stream of fans arriving at the stadium. The vuvuzela has been branded a hearing risk but that has not stopped tens of thousands of people blowing the instrument at all hours of the day and night, from streets to shopping malls, fast making it a symbol of this World Cup.

“I think vuvuzelas are magical. It's our tool to make Bafana Bafana go as far as possible. I am absolutely inspired, it's a dream come true to be here today,” said Desh Rooplall of Johannesburg, dressed in the national side's green and gold. South Africans have embraced the tournament in a swell of national pride not seen since Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990 and the first all-race election four years later. News that the country's first black president would not be at the opening ceremony after the death of his great grand-daughter in a car crash overnight, may dampen the mood somewhat.

On Friday began one of the more worldwide impact events. It is not a world summit between political leaders, nor is it a gathering of religious groups, it is just a sporting event. But do not be fooled; not everything is football. There are million businesses in marketing done by the sponsoring companies, and sports brands.

Are you ready for the coming of this next big party for all the people? Are you ready to be completely absorbed and alienated - during a month - in front of the TV, just watching while 22 souls are desperately running behind a piece of inflated leather? While thousands of people long for that ball enters behind three sticks with a net behind it - crazy about it just as - or even more than - them. ... Are you ready to forget that you are an eternal spiritual soul, and you have nothing to do with the limits and divisions that man creates in the form of different countries ... and other variants of exploitation and ignorance which covers the world? Are you ready to place your hopes and dreams, thinking that “now if my country (my country??) is the champion, then yes!, I will be happy”? Are you ready to experience such self-deception? If you are ready …welcome to the 2010 World Cup.

Śrīpad BV Padmanabha Maharaj :
“Welcome to the World Cup”

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