Johannesburg: The ongoing FIFA Confederations Cup, which is held for the first time on African soil, is already setting the frenzy for next year’s World Cup.
African teams have shown that they will not be pushovers in next year’s show piece.
Teams like Egypt and South Africa performed beyond many people’s expectations as they gave traditional soccer powerhouses a run for their money.
It would not be surprising to see an African team going all the way to the finals and even lifting the much converted trophy. Although many people have already given the tournament an all thumbs up, there are several areas that need to be tightened up before the showpiece gets underway.
Nevertheless, host countries always experience challenges before major tournaments. Other so-called developed countries went the extent of finishing their work only a few days before the kick off.
By the look of things, South Africa seems destined to finish their work on time, especially the construction of stadiums. It is only a matter of time before all the stadiums are completed.
However, there is not that much World Cup soccer fever as one would have expected, especially in the two big cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria.
What can be noted is the lack of vigorous marketing for both the FIFA Confederations Cup and the World Cup proper.
There are not that many soccer emblems, especially at major places like Oliver Tambo Airport and even on major highways in Johannesburg.
Upon arrival in South Africa, one immediately gets the feeling of the lack of proper marketing of the showpiece. One should be greeted by flags and colours of South Africa, FIFA and even of the South African Football Association (SAFA) with bold letters.
Major highways, like the Nelson Mandela Drive, R24, N1 and other freeways are hardly decorated with soccer hyping posters or soccer paraphernalia; they are just blank.
Not much was felt in one of the hosting cities, Rustenburg. There are very few signs that major games were taking place. Someone who does not follow football keenly might not get the feeling that something is taking place or is going to.
This is one factor that some pundits quoted as the major reason to unsatisfactory attendance in some of the matches.
Marketing of the tournaments seems mainly to be through the media but not in other channels.
On the other hand, SAFA bigwig, Irvin Khoza, has since said they are learning from their mistakes. He said for a successful World Cup, there are pitfalls from which the country should learn.
The marketing for the Confederations Cup is poor and weak and one could be forgiven for not thinking it is being played on African soil for the first time.
That aside, South Africa is on course for a successful tournament. One is greeted by the construction boom of the infrastructure as workers are busy day and night.