“We are ready to host this prestigious event”

Bis zur Fußball-Weltmeisterschaft 2010 sind es zwar noch ein paar Jahre, doch schon jetzt ist klar, dass es ein besonderes Ereignis sein wird. Noch nie fand eine Weltmeisterschaft auf dem afrikanischen Kontinent statt. back view interessierte von daher, wie man in Südafrika über die kommende Weltmeisterschaft denkt. Wir sprachen mit Ashley Africa, einem gebürtigen Südafrikaner, über seine Sicht bezüglich der kommenden Weltmeisterschaft.

back view: Hello Ashley. Could you introduce yourself a little bit?
Ashley: My name is Ashley Africa, 24 years old. I live in South Africa in Port Elizabeth known as The Friendly City near the coast. Our city is situated in the eastern part of RSA. I am a fulltime employee at Standard Bank. My hobbies are sports and music. I play football on a semi professional level for a club called Shamrocks.

Are you also a football fan?
I am a football fanatic and love the game. My favourite team in our country are the Orlando Pirates. In the English League it is Manchester United, Spanish league FC Valencia, German league Bayern München. Germany and Argentina are the countries that I support, and of course also: Bafana Bafana, our national team.

Can you tell us a something about the South Africa’s mentality towards football?
Football, next to rugby and cricket, belongs to the number one sports in our country. These sports all draw the same attraction on the crowds and people have the same emotion towards these sports. We have many ways and means of supporting and showing our support to our national teams: the painted faces, the uniforms and instruments. Maybe you heard of the Vuvuzela?

No, what is that?
A plastic horn shape of an object, which you blow through. The sound is very impressive.

Is everybody happy that the Woldcup Championship will take place in your country?
If you can remember, we were kind of robbed from hosting the World Cup in 2002. Our nation could hardly believe it. However we didn’t let our hope and spirits die. We knew and believed that we would be hosting the World Cup. People were very happy and everybody is behind the organizers. Everybody wants it to take place in South Africa. We are ready to host this prestigious event!

The first thing many people associate with South Africa is the time of the apartheid-regíme. Do you think that the World Championship is a chance to show the world the new face of your country?
People don’t have to worry about the apartheid years that are behind our backs. We are a new South Africa. We already have a new face and with hosting this event, it could just broaden the smile on our face.

Here in Germany many media say that the high crime rate could be a serious problem for the football fans. What do you think about that?
Personally I don’t think it will be a problem or a major concern. Our government is already employing more police officers, to get ready for 2010. As in any other country you have your good people and your bad people. Our cities are safe and for an event such as this one any government will try to sharpen security and secure the safety of the people.

Another big problem seems to be the completion of the football stadiums. When I read an article in a German newspaper, it is always written that the time to complete of these stadiums could be scarce. What do your national media report about the construction?
Other countries just want to see us fail. They can write us off to win the “Weltmeisterschaft”, but we are more than able to host it and they must watch out, for us winning it as well. So they must be careful what they are publishing. We are still receiving major sponsors from big companies and the construction of the stadiums is already in full flow.

Last question. Which chance does South Africa have to win the cup? Or, in other words, who, do you think, will be most liable to win the championship?
Well watch out for South Africa. We are doing well at the moment and with one of the worlds greatest coaches we are going to cause some upsets. It is too early to say who will win, as countries still have a lot of time to prepare. But, should South Africa won’t win, I would say Germany or Argentina probably might.

Thank you very much Ashley.
It was a pleasure to share with you!

(Interview: Matthias Hoffmann)

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