To get your blood really boiling — read this nasty, little article by Jamie Trecker on the Fox Sports website about South Africa’s 2010 world cup prospects. It mostly focuses on what a terrible country South Africa is — giving the overall impression that we are basically a hopeless bet to host the 2010 word cup, because the country is headed to doom and gloom.
…he says, among other things:
“Can South Africa successfully host a World Cup when it lacks the infrastructure required to deliver water and electricity, transport goods and services, and ensure the safety of its own citizenry?”
…he also says, interestingly but confusingly (who the hell this source of his is I don’t know):
“And, to be sure, there is some considerable old-line, racist pressure being brought to bear. One high-ranking FIFA executive told us there was opposition from some who didn’t want to see a “black World Cup.”
…now the ominous warning about how the country is headed for the pits
Today, South Africa is in a far, far different place than it was four years ago. Arguably, the country may be in a different place by the time 2010 rolls around, but few — save for South Africa’s politicians — are so optimistic.”
He also cites selective stats from the CIA Fact book to paint the worst possible picture of the country… yet ignoring stats from that very website which praise our “well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors;” and “a modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of good” and notes that teh South African Stock Exchange ranks in the top 10. Sure, let’s not go into the problems of the country we all know so well, but to prompt this absolute drivel of a column?
I wrote Jamie Trecker thisletter (yes, yes — there are spelling mistakes in it– I wrote it in a hurry). To which he replied and to which I counter-replied…Judge for yourself
I had the misfortune of reading your hatchet job on South Africa with regards to the 2010 world cup. Most of your article focuses on the negatives about our country yet you don’t really make any effort to really understand the country, most particularly the positives in the country. You selectively quote only the negatives from CIA factbook, ignoring facts from the very source you used (CIA factbook) that we are a “middle income country”, with “well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors;” and “a modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods” — and that our stock exchange actually ranks among the worlds top ten. The CIA factbook, says about the economy:
“South Africa is a middle-income, emerging market with an abundant supply of natural resources; well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors; a stock exchange that ranks among the 10 largest in the world; and a modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout the region. However, growth has not been strong enough to lower South Africa’s high unemployment rate, and daunting economic problems remain from the apartheid era – especially poverty and lack of economic empowerment among the disadvantaged groups. South African economic policy is fiscally conservative, but pragmatic, focusing on targeting inflation and liberalizing trade as means to increase job growth and household income.”
Sure there are many problems, but they are not insurmountable and the problems are not all South Africa’s got going for it as you seem to indicate in your nasty little column. South Africa, remember, has successfully hosted a rugby and cricket world cup and we are not a micky mouse economy — by far the largest in Africa by a factor of four (four times the size of Egypt which is ranked second). Crime is also a big problem. But your jaundiced, patently one-sided view makes me think you have some kind of agenda? I’m not quite sure what you references to race have to do with anything…
You also forget that South Africa has already gone through an immense and rigorous qualifying process by FIFA which focused on issues like infrastructure and accommodation etc etc.. to even get to this stage. A South African world cup is far from a gamble. These scare-articles are pretty typical — and I remember how much fuss there was over Greece not being ready for the Olympics… (those ditzy mediterranean types!). Yet it was one of the best Olympics we have ever seen.
So you will moan and make a fuss, but the country will host a successful world cup and your silly little rantings will be long forgotten. You sound like and angry man. I feel sorry for you.
From: Jamie Trecker [mailto:XX@X.com]
Sent: 25 October 2006 08:30 PM
To: Matthew Buckland
Subject: Re: Your article
Matthew — Thanks for your letter. I have to say, you’re fairly selective in your reading and interpretations as well.
First off: the references I make to race were, in fact, my quoting FIFA delegates. The fact that there are people who don’t want to see South Africa succeed based on skin colour is reprehensible, and I noted it to point out that some of the chatter around the Cup is designed to bring it down for less-than-noble reasons.
Second: You rail on me selectively quoting from the CIA factbook. Yet I notice that you don’t have much to say about the take the UN has on South Africa, nor Archbishop Tlhagale’s comments. Nor do you care to comment on the take of your own leading financial paper, which seems to be fairly up-front about the transportation problem. And, for the record, I hardly think that noting that 50% of a country is under the poverty line is “selective.”
Third: You mention the Athens Olympics, calling it a “success.” In fact, it was a financial disaster for all parties.
Fourth: Saying “crime is a problem” in South Africa is a bit rich, don’t you think? This is a nation that the UN describes as more akin to a war zone with regards to murder and assault than a nation at peacetime.
I respect your opinion, and your right to think that any article that details some of the real, consensus issues around SA2010 is a “hatchet job.” However, I think you are doing yourself a disservice in the end. Until South Africa is able to confront some of these issues, the clamour to take the Cup away is going to grow. Personally — and contrary to your opinion — I think this would be a shame.
Sent: 26 October 2006 08:19 AM
To: ‘Jamie Trecker’
Subject: RE: Your article