Category Archives: Sport

There’s No Winter World Cup!

Don’t call it winter World Cup then. How on earth 20-30 degrees Celcius can be said winter? This reminds me of some questions asking winter in Indonesia. Well some people don’t realise that some countries have only two seasons or even one season throughout the years.

It’s the tournament for all countries, players and fans alike. Not only for those living in certain regions. Since we never called it summer World Cup, it could be held in any month so long as every participant could fit it in any way. There’s no excuse not to kick the ball to every corner of the earth.

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Blatter ‘expects’ winter World Cup

Last Modified: 07 Jan 2011 12:11 GMT

FIFA president says Executive Committee will consider possibility of Qatar hosting World Cup 2022 outside summer months.

The prospect of the Qatar 2022 World Cup being held in the winter moved a step closer as FIFA president Sepp Blatter endorsed the move away from the blazing Middle Eastern summer.

Speaking to a media roundtable in the Qatari capital Doha before the opening match of the Asian Cup on Friday, he said: “I expect it will be held in the winter because when you play football you must protect the main people, the players.

“We have time to look at this question, it is still 11 years away but we must decide the most adequate period for a successful World Cup which means January or the end of the year.

“We will take it up at our executive committee meeting in March.”

Qatar was awarded the right to host the tournament last month despite summer temperatures in the Gulf state soaring to well over 40C.

Concerns have been raised about the health impacts of playing and spectating in such searing heat, although the Qatar organisers say they will have cooling technology in the stadiums.

German legend Franz Beckenbauer, a FIFA executive committee member, and England coach Fabio Capello are among others who have voiced support for a switch of dates.

UEFA president Michel Platini is also said to be sympathetic to the idea, with January temperatures hovering around a more comfortable 20C.

Source: http://english.aljazeera.net/sport/football/2011/01/201117113313173507.html

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Stadium Hopping in South Africa

Sportive spirit is in the air around the horn of Africa.

South Africa has been upheld as a role model of racial integration following its successful social transition following the abolition of apartheid. Now the nation is this year’s number one sporting destination as it will host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Nine cities are in full party mode as the excitement builds in the run-up to the games. All are preparing to welcome both ordinary tourists and football fans during the month-full championship or even before it kicks off on June 11.

Of the ten stadiums to stage the matches during the football season five are new and have been recently completed. While all of these are based on a typical stadium design each has distinctive characteristics and will encourage city explorers to visit and add it to their photographic album of the trip. Each building has become their area’s landmark and a proud symbol of what South Africa has achieved over its recent history.

This follows a trend with major sporting events such as the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. Here the main stadium, the ‘Bird’s Nest’ has become a new city icon. It is clear that in South Africa the new stadiums in Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth, Durban, Nelspruit and Polokwane have already had a similar impact.

Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

Walkers along the seaside of the Atlantic in Cape Town can easily spot the Green Point Stadium with the Signal Hill as its backdrop. The giant ring-style oval building seems solid from a distance, but it is actually designed with a semi-translucent façade enabling lights to infiltrate from the inside making the building radiate at night.

Catching glimpses of the glowing-in-the-dark structure is still popular among local people even though it has been there for several months since it was officially opened in December 2009. Pick any of the 70,000 seats available and witness a full-angle view of its interior.

Locals still refer to this as Green Point Stadium, which was the name of the old stadium on the same site, rather than the official name ‘Cape Town Stadium’. This massive concrete block is a prominent landmark.

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Still on the southern edge of the country, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is one of three coastal stadiums built for the games. It is set only a stone’s throw away from the Indian Ocean and is on the shores of the North End Lake.

There is no need to hire a helicopter to witness the unique roof-texture as it can be seen clearly from any of the 46,000 seats. The roof is made up of a series of white ‘petals’ making it look like a flower. This is why the stadium is nicknamed ‘The Sunflower’.

Port Elizabeth built the first stadium dedicated to football at the heart of the city enabling architectural conscious strollers to compare it with the surrounding Victorian and Edwardian buildings that demonstrate a physical timeline of architectural changes dating as far back as the 19th century. The Opera House is a good example of Victorian architecture and is still in use. The city has also the richest collection of Art Nouveau buildings in South Africa.

Durban Stadium, Durban

Go further north along the east coast to find Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. The stadium has a grand arch across its void, which was inspired by the country’s flag. The two legs of the arch on the southern side of the stadium merge into one to form a single footing on the northern side. The southern side has a 550-step adventure walk to the top.

A cable car is available to carry visitors from the northern side climbing up along the arch to a viewing platform at the height of 105 metres. From this point, height junkies can see panoramic views of the shoreline, city and roof of the stadium. The roof design looks like an eyelid along with eyelashes. Down below each of the 70,000 seats is spacious and gives a clear line of sight to the pitch.

The building is located in the centre of Kings Park Sporting Precinct featuring further sporting arenas and a pedestrian connecting the complex to the beach. More attractions are found on the beach such as an aquarium built into a sunken ship in the Shaka Marine World. During the championship, Beachfront Fan Park will be a flocking point for football fans to catch the World Cup action on a big screen.

Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

In local language Mbombela means ‘many people together in a small place’. But Mbombela Stadium in north-eastern city of Nelspruit is far from small. It has capacity to hold 46,000 spectators under its rounded rectangle roof with its wide-open void.

The concept of the architecture reflects the inter-relation between sport and wildlife as the location is close to the Kruger National Park. On the façade, 18 orange roof steel piles resemble giraffes. The seating bowl inside depicts a zebra pattern in black and white. The translucent roof floats above the top of the seating bowl with a clear six-metre gap to provide views to the surrounding hills.

Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane

Finally going to the northern-most tip of the country where the Peter Mokaba Stadium was just completed earlier this year replacing the old stadium with the same name in the city of Polokwane.

The design is inspired by the locally iconic Baobab tree with the emphasis on a large concrete structure. Sitting on one of the 45,000 seats feels like waiting for a performance in a giant open-air amphitheatre as the roof covers only one side of the seating bowl. Yes, it is the tribune side.

Of course, each city has many other attractions to offer, but at the moment all South African’s energy and spirit belongs to football. They hope people coming to the country will bring the same energy and spirit when they celebrate the first ever World Cup on African soil.


Oversee Indonesia’s Bid for the 2022 World Cup

A recent embarrassing stunt by an Indonesian football supporter has planted a question mark in my mind whether Indonesia can still stand for the 2022 FIFA World Cup bid. He invaded the pitch and tried to score a goal during the 2011 Asian Cup prequalifying match between the host Indonesia and Oman.

I can totally understand that Hendri Mulyadi’s action was triggered by disappointment with the national team’s poor performance that night. I’m not a big fan of football though. So I had never been care about how my national team developed until I read in the Jakarta Globe that for the first time since 1992, the Asian Cup will go on without Indonesia in 2011.

“I apologized to my fellow Indonesians for my misconduct,” he said as it was quoted in the Jakarta Post. “I was very disappointed with our team’s performance because it has never won. The team has either been defeated or it has tied.”

He might be representing millions of football fans in the country who were angry about the government’s disability to manage the team. Well, the one to blame is the Indonesian Football Federation (PSSI) actually thanks to its internal mismanagement. To me, it’s impossible for the organisation to forge a strong team whilst it struggles with the lack of talents and corruption allegations.

So people, and I, are waiting how the incident will stimulate for changes before I join thousands of people in a fan page on Facebook hailing him to be the next chairman of PSSI.

Mulyadi did it minutes before referee blew his whistle. Indonesia bowed out to Oman 1-2 before some 40,000 home spectators. The loss has sent Indonesian national teams of all age groups to the lowest point in their history. The Jakarta Globe notes that the Under-23 team made unwanted history by going winless at the 2009 Southeast Asian Games. The Under-19 team failed to reach the 2010 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-19 Championship.

2022 World Cup bid

Now, let’s talk about Indonesian football in the international stage.

In one hand, Mulyadi’s action could be a wake-up call for internal improvement. In the other hand, it was undoubtedly an embarrassment which slaps on face amid Indonesia’s bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. I support the bid 1,000% but I bet there are still many things to be addressed, not to mention the attitude of local supporters.

I never question my country’s ability to build the seven pledged new stadiums for the bid no matter where the fund will come from as we can easily find new shopping malls popping up across the country each year-long. I am sure public will bestow big passion for it despite a handful of pessimistic voices.

Photo by WorldStadiums.com

Wikipedia notes that Indonesia has the biggest stadium in Southeast Asia with 88,000 seats. Dozens other stadiums are either ready to use, proposed or under construction with capacity of at least 40,000 seats each, the minimum requirement to hold a World Cup match.

The problem will be how qualified our national squad is. Granting the team, which is currently at 120 in the FIFA rankings, a world qualify automatically will be awkward. World Cup in 1938 as the Dutch East Indies was the only Indonesia’s World Cup history in which it was the first Asian nation to participate in the World Cup finals.

I know that the bid is not solely to win the game instead of to win international attention. The estimated ten trillion rupiahs, nearly 650 million pounds, budget is aimed at boosting national proud, image and tourism. That is very understandable for a country that is always associated with natural disasters and terrorist attacks.

I remember what my teacher said when Brazil won the 2014 World Cup bid. “Brazilians will cry blood after the event,” he said. I can see that that won’t be the case instead they will cry money afterwards.

Green proposal

So, what the country has to offer that makes it more outstanding than the other nine bids have. It’s proposing ‘Green World Cup 2022’. Everybody knows that every things with ‘green’ attribute sound so sexy nowadays. I hope my country’s environment consciousness is not only a marketing gimmick. I suppose FIFA doesn’t want to be labeled as an environmentally unfriendly organisation by choosing those carbon-producing bids.

“Our deforestation rate has contributed much to world pollution. By hosting the World Cup, we wish to build infrastructure and facilities that are environmentally friendly so we can give more to the planet,” the Chairman of PSSI Nurdin Halid told the Jakarta Post.

But literally, it’s true that no other bids are offering something special at least from what their slogans say:

Australia (AFC): “Come Play!”

Belgium/Netherlands (UEFA): “Together for Great Goals”

England (UEFA): no slogan found

Japan (AFC): “Dream”

South Korea (AFC): no slogan found

Qatar (AFC): “Expect Amazing”

Russia (UEFA): “Ready to Inspire!”

Spain/Portugal (UEFA): no slogan found

USA (CONCACAF): “The Game is in Us”

Remembering that the same confederation can’t host both the 2018 and 2022 games, hopefully neither Australia nor Japan will win the 2018 bid because the other three nations from AFC applied for only the 2022. So Australia will be the strongest contender in the confederation in term of football team, financial and infrastructure. Japan co-hosted the event with South Korea in 2002, not so long ago, so they will be seen too greedy for a second chance within at least 16 years.

An unofficial poll suggested England (21%) becomes the favourite while Australia (19%) and Indonesia (18%) are in the second and third place. FIFA will appoint the host for 2018 and 2022 World Cup in 2 December 2010. If successful, Indonesia will be the second World Cup host from Asia. If so, I will have to love football.


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