Bafana's blunders leave Blatter disappointed
Sepp Blatter, president of world soccer governing body Fifa, says he is “really disappointed” at the abysmal showing of Bafana Bafana, and plans some straight talking with local soccer bosses on the issue.
Speaking after a visit to the site of Cape Town’s 2010 stadium, he said South Africa was awarded the World Cup in 2004.
“Now four years later, the national team is not better than it was in 2004. I would even say it is not so good. Here I am really disappointed,” Blatter said.
He said Bafana Bafana were African champions in 1996.
“And where they are now, it’s incredible. It’s incredible. I cannot understand that.”
He is to meet South Africa’s football bosses on Tuesday “and I will speak really open language as I do it today”.
“Because it is the last moment to move. I am looking to the press here, they are asking bring back who, and whoever. But do something, move it.
“It is the last minute to move. You have already lost [the chance] to be in the next Africa Cup of Nations.”
He said, though, that even if Bafana Bafana did not redeem themselves in the coming Confederations Cup, the World Cup would still take place in South Africa.
Blatter was accompanied on the visit to Cape Town’s Green Point site by a bevy of local dignitaries, including city mayor Helen Zille, provincial Premier Lynne Brown and former president FW de Klerk.
The 68 000-seat venue is earmarked to host a semifinal in the Cup.
Most of the concrete tiers that will support the seating are in place, and the last of the massive raked pylons that will support a futuristic steel-and-glass roof are nearing completion.
According to Zille, the stadium, scheduled for completion by December next year, is four days ahead of schedule, despite one of the wettest winters the Cape has ever had.
Blatter said he was in South Africa on a “courtesy visit”, not an inspection.
But when asked if he was happy with progress in building the venues, he said: “I’m very happy. I’m very happy. I can only repeat it.”
De Klerk said he wanted to assure Blatter that South Africa was united behind making a big success of the World Cup.
“All of us want 2010 to recapture the spirit of 1994, when we launched the new South Africa,” he said.
On Tuesday Blatter visits Soccer City in Johannesburg and is scheduled to have what he described as a “very private” meeting with former president Nelson Mandela.
On Wednesday he meets African National Congress president Jacob Zuma, and visits Coca-Cola Park (formerly Ellis Park).
He met President Thabo Mbeki in Pretoria on Sunday night.—Sapa