Colombian team robbed in South Africa

The Colombian team did not have a good couple of days.

A day after checking into the Hyde Park Southern Sun hotel in northern Johannesberg, they were robbed of £1900.

The Colombians were in South Africa to play a friendly match against Bafana Bafana, which they lost 2-1. They played in a sold-out Soccer City in Soweto.

Two women have been arrested and charged.  CCTV cameras showed two scantily-clad women in the corridors right before the robbery.

The Hyde had asked police to keep the matter quiet to try and avoid negative publicity before the cup. Police ignored the request and arrested the women after complaints from the Colombian team.

This isn’t the first time a team has been robbed in South Africa. According to the South African Times:

In June, during the Confederations Cup, $2400 (R18394) was stolen from several players from the Egyptian soccer team at Johannesburg’s Wanderers Protea Hotel.

Many teams have concerns about South Africa’s high crime rate. Officials have promised to try and make this the safest cup ever.

This definitely won’t help matters. The police isn’t helping either, with quotes like this one:

Gauteng police spokesman Colonel Eugene Opperman said: “It was an inside job. How do you police that? You cannot. They worked there everyday.”

The Hyde Park Southern Sun will play host during the cup to the Slovania team, who check in June 8th.

Good luck to them!!



And I’m officially jealous…

So I was reading about a contest that MTN, one of FIFA’s official sponsors and the only African one, had last summer.  And let me tell you, I’m insanely jealous.

Called Wafa Wafa, it loosely translates to “Last Man Standing.”  This contest had, in my opinion, one of the greatest prizes ever.

Thulani Ngcobo was the extremely lucky winner.  His prize?? His name in the Guiness Book of World Records.  His record??  Watching the most matches in a World Cup ever.

Ngcobo, 29, will receive tickets, accomodations, and transportation, to 38 live games in 31 days.  He will be taking in 9 cities, 10 stadiums, 3,420 minutes of football and 17,000 km of travel.

The 38 games comprise the opening game, 28 pool games (including opening game), 4 round of 16 games, 2 quarter-finals, 2 semi-finals, the 3rd place play-off and, of course, the final.

Yes, I am officially jealous.  If I’d known, I would have entered.  I’m not sure how, but I would have found a way!!


Groups and match schedules

So as I’ve mentioned before, the groups stage is the first part of the World Cup competition. Teams are divided into eight groups of four teams each, and two teams from each group go on to the knockout stage.

Now, there is a method to how they pick the teams for each group, but I’m seriously lost on it. No matter where I read it, it just seems to not make sense.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about it: “Eight teams are seeded, including the hosts, with the other seeded teams selected using a formula based on the FIFA World Rankings and/or performances in recent World Cups, and drawn to separate groups. The other teams are assigned to different “pots”, usually based on geographical criteria, and teams in each pot are drawn at random to the eight groups. Since 1998, constraints have been applied to the draw to ensure that no group contains more than two European teams or more than one team from any other confederation.”

If that helps you, congratulations. You are officially smarter than me.

Anyways, I’m just gonna give you the list of groups. Each one links back the the FIFA profile on that country. Feel free to check them out.

Group A:  South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, France

Group B: Argentina, Nigeria, Korea Republic (South Korea), Greece

Group C: England, USA, Algeria, Slovenia

Group D: Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana

Group E: Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon

Group F: Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia

Group G: Brazil, Korea DPR (North Korea), Côte d’Ivoire, Portugal

Group H: Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile

Th matches start June 11, and will run for a month.  A list of matches can be found here on the FIFA website.