Each and every year before a FIFA World Cup event, we get reminded by media outlets about the various scandals and controversies surrounding world soccer’s overseeing body FIFA.
Now of course scandal for FIFA is back again, with the surprise move of the USA arresting a dozen of the highest ranking FIFA officials in Switzerland on corruption charges – instantly opening up a massive can of worms and headaches for the football organisation.
(Particularly funny, because as noted, it’s taken the country with seemingly the least amount of interest in soccer to actually do something about this group that holds itself above countries’ laws!)
Needless to say, comedian John Oliver and his team immediately weighed in on the story:
The reality of all of this is of course that it seems long overdue, but at least it has forced the hand of Sepp Blatter and he has stepped down (at last).
Though of course, this could just be an attempt to jump ship before it completely sinks…
Sadly though, South Africa has now been drawn into the thick of it, and no matter how sports minister Fikile Mbalula and his team try to spin it, it is looking pretty much like we paid bribes in order to get the World Cup in 2010.
Sigh, can this beautiful country of ours not get a break or two sometime?
Of course, FIFA and the World Cup has been an inspiration for Zapiro on more than just a few occasions before, but this particular scandal seems to have brought out the best from one of South Africa’s most recognised political cartoonists:
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My favourite editorial cartoon coming out of this debacle however has to be the one drawn up by the Dr. Jack and Curtis team for EWN (Eyewitness News):
So the South African Springboks have had a good start defending their status as World Champions in this year’s 2011 Rugby World Cup tournament. Of course, we can’t just leave poor Jessica out of the loop, and as such we bought her some official Springbok merchandise so that she can support in style.
And by “style”, we do of course mean “super cute”! :)
And on a completely unrelated note, have I mentioned just how much Jessica enjoys ripping any paper that gets close to her into shreds? Seriously, try holding your shopping list out while she’s in range…
Although I did get a fair bit of home maintenance, furniture shifting and re-packing done this weekend thanks to the new carpet finally getting laid in the second bedroom on Friday afternoon, Saturday was pretty much a minimal work day as come 13:00, Mr. Brown and Dr. Storbeck arrived on my doorstep, followed by a surprise drop-in from Mr. Lotter Jr., completing our fearsome foursome.
The task for the day was of course to break out the XBOX 360 and squeeze in as many FIFA World Cup 2010 simulation games in as possible, trying our best to predict or equal what has been and what is still to come in the real World Cup.
As it turned out, lack of game time on Karl’s part actually meant he was performing ten times better than normal (:P), and opened the afternoon’s scoring account with a fantastic, cracking half-volley shot from a cross-in from yours truly, that simply rocketed past a despairing Ryan and Terrance keeper!
The afternoon progressed and we slotted in a lot of games, with Mr. Brown seeming to have the worst luck of the day, considering the fact that by the end of it all he was pretty much the overall loser, having lost the biggest number of games!
But in fairness we had some cracker games and for the most part they were all a very tight affair, usually ending up with only a single goal difference and on more than one occasion we found ourselves trading blows through extra time and then taking it all the way through to penalties, where some of us (Ryan for the most part), simply couldn’t get to grips with EA’s new penalty taking system!
But hats off to them for providing us with some absolutely tense moments, some brilliant goals (that Ronaldo shot from Ryan was an absolute beauty!) as well as the usual array of howlers, like Karl’s missing of various open goal tap-in opportunities! :)
But the simulated soccer couldn’t go on forever because the main drive for Saturday’s get together was of course the big 16:00 quarterfinal clash that saw an in form Argentina take on a just as in form Germany (who I am behind to take this whole damn thing!) and what a match for the Germans it proved to be! My bountiful snacks that I had stocked up on for the extravaganza kept flowing from hand to mouth and the disbelief of how easy Germany was making it look in dismantling Diego Maradona’s team just kept on growing!
Around half time I set about getting out of my cosy couch and started up the fire, which then happily burned itself down to some fine coals as the game reached it’s rather unexpected conclusion, marking the moment where we switched gears by bidding farewell to Ryan who had another engagement to get to, leaving Mr. Brown, Dr. Storbeck and I to put together a lekker braai and enjoy some more hanging out time.
Despite my attempts to ensnare them into watching the second match for the evening at my place, they resisted my charms and instead opted to hit the long ride home and catch the first bit on the radio, thereby saving them a much later return to Bellville. In fairness, I can’t really argue with that logic, but they did miss out on some great snacks I tell you! ;)
So thanks guys, it was an absolute blast having you around for the footy. Maybe next time we’ll be lucky and Mr. Dean and Mr. Oosthuizen will also be able to join us for an even bigger clash of the Titans!
(But the footy visits didn’t quite stop there believe it or not, because Sunday was still on its way and we had a last visit before their trek to Potchefstroom from Wayne and Candice to enjoy, and little did I know that Wayne had literally just laid his grubby paws on FIFA 10 – and you just know we HAD to test it out on our return from supper…)
Last Wednesday I fiddled around a bit and managed to set up a spare desktop PC running Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx to act as a Samba server, and thus act as a central point for my laptop and main desktop PC to access, and at the same time installed ushare in order to make the my other idea a reality – streaming all my media to the XBOX via a Linux machine! Of course, one of the steps involved in doing this was of course to hook the XBOX up on the network and after granting it a static IP (for easy identification) and enabling UPnP on the router, I now had an XBOX receiving all my media and more importantly, hooked up to the world.
Now as we all know XBOX Live comes with a free month long trial Gold account and so I dutifully signed up (in the sneaky fashion all of us South Africans currently have to follow) and opened the door to network gaming on my XBOX.
Of course though, this being a public holiday meant that I didn’t really get a chance to test drive it other than post a Twitter message via the console, send a friend invite out to Terrance (Merkaba ZA) and download updates for FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa.
But that all changed yesterday when I grabbed a spare moment, spotted Terrance online and attempted to wave him down and join me for a quick FIFA game. Of course, this sound much easier than what it actually was, mainly because a) I first had to find my headset that came with the XBOX and 2) needed to figure out how to unmute it and turn it on – not particularly easy when you completely overlook the obvious switch button dangling right in front of you on the headset’s cable itself! :)
That said, get it working I did and after a bit of fumbling around trying to get Terrance to talk to me, we finally got connected and hit FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa head first.
Terrance adopted his number 1 team, Italy, while I opted for the evenly matched Germans and we launched into our head-to-head game where it turned out neither one of us could gain an upper hand and so ended it on a nil nil standing! But, the deed was done, my XBOX Live virginity was now broken and I can now proudly stand tall as part of the online XBOX crowd!
And I won’t lie, I was impressed. I’m running a little unstable 384 kbs line here and not once did I have any hassle or lag with the audio to Terrance (even during the game) nor the actual game itself. It was absolutely perfect, tons of fun, and now leaves me in a position where I too need to begin urging my dear brother Ryan to join in the fun! ;)
So if you feel like hitting me up online, have a look for craiglotterZA. There’s not much to my name just yet, but give me time – I’ve just got started you know! :P
One of the highlights of 2010 was undoubtedly travelling through to Cape Town Stadium to witness Italy take on Paraguay in a Round 1 FIFA World Cup 2010 clash!
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I actually had a pretty decent weekend last weekend, despite the fact you can’t really look back at it and say, “wow, awesome, cool” or anything like that. As expected, Chantelle was back on full duty for the weekend and so Friday night saw me entertain myself, which pretty much meant some more 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa gaming action and the watching of a classic Hong Kong Jackie Chan piece, Crime Story. As of late I’ve been laying my paws on all Jackie Chan’s older stuff, and man am I enjoying his work. Proper pure adrenaline Hong Kong gun action, high drama and the occasional laugh or two, his body of work really does bring a huge smile to my face! :)
Saturday I got down to a whole lot of my private website work, tinkering with the blogs, sorting out some outstanding online issues, and of course tackling the housework, before Mr. Brown finally arrived at my doorstep and the day of geekery could finally begin.
Needless to say, with him having to write up a review of the game anyway, a lot of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa was on the cards for the day and so we tackled the game on World Class and attempted to head for World Cup Glory. However, the higher difficulty setting really did get the better of us and at the end of a good couple of hours’ worth of game play, all we had to show for it was a lot of tension-induced sweaty palms and tears down our faces. We also slotted in a look at the Spider-man: Web of Shadows game I laid my hands on and did some co-op on Hellboy: The Science of Evil that Terrance and the boys gave me for my birthday.
We broke a bit as I organised supper on Chantelle’s request, cooking up a delicious batch of pancakes, before Chantelle joined us and the three of us got comfy as I slotted in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer for the night’s viewing!
Sunday and I was once again left to my own devices, meaning I managed to slot in plenty of Spider-man: Web of Shadows, comic book reading and some web tinkering once again, though I did take a break in the afternoon to catch Iron Man 2 at Ster Kinekor in Somerset Mall, all on my lonesome I might add.
The movie was perfectly okay, a standard enjoyable comic book movie, though I must say it didn’t really have the charm of the first movie and as such I walked out at the end feeling that this was probably a movie I could have easily skipped. That said, I was quite thrilled at the little Thor hint at the end of the credits! :)
Chantelle, tired and hungry after work (hey, she’s living for herself and jellybean at this moment), called in and asked that I meet her at Spur for supper and so under the care of the same waitress who forgot our starter last time we were there, enjoyed a great meal together in one another’s company.
And that was that as far as I can remember. In other words, nice! :)
I’m just thinking here, but I’m pretty sure that I never mentioned on this blog that way back in the beginning of Februrary, end of January, we got confirmation that one of our two bids for tickets to the Football World Cup 2010 was actually accepted! :)
Four of us guys, namely Damen Oosthuizen, Dean Stapelberg, Terrance Brown and myself, got together and put in bids on two games, one of which turned out to be accepted, meaning that on the 14th of June 2010, at 20:30 in the evening, the four of us will be sitting somewhere in the new Cape Town Stadium (not sure where Category 4 puts us) enjoying match 11 of the football spectacular: Italy versus Paraguay.
And it’s a win-win situation as far as I’m concerned. Italy with it cadre of greats will be an awesome sight of footballing skill to experience first hand, and I know for a fact that Mr. Brown has always kind of followed/supported/cheered the Azzurri on in these big international competitions – so he’ll be pretty chuffed to see them in action I’m sure!
On the other hand, I’ve had a soft spot for the Paraguay team for quite some time now, mainly based on their heroic run in the France 1998 World Cup when the awesomeness that was Jose Luis Chilavert as a goal-scoring goalkeeper extraordinaire was on display and will be quietly hoping that they pull off another miracle and show those Italians a thing or two on the pitch! ;)
In any event, I can’t wait. Hopefully the game will be a cracker, but most of all, I’ll then be able to say that I witnessed a World Cup soccer game first hand, in person – and it was on my home soil to boot!
It’s exciting, I won’t lie! :)