It is all systems go at the Vodacom Challenge 2011 when Tottenham Hotspur touched down to a typical rythm-infused welcome at the O.R. Tambo International Airport on Thursday morning.
The scene was quite familiar for both Bongani Khumalo and Steven Pienaar, our local lads that have successfully hoisted our national flag in the tough European league.
Behind the scenes, our Marketing and Supporters Club teams have lined up interesting road shows that will keep our supporters happy throughout the tournament.
The Project Team has also ensured smooth organization around logistics and before long supporters will be treated to a pulsating and exciting spectacle.
Whilst I acknowledge that our first encounter against Spurs in Polokwane is important, the derby at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth is crucial for our objectives to qualify for the finals. This one is particularly interesting because our qualification could mean two champions pitting their strengths against each other in the finals.
You will recall that Tottenham Hotspur snatched the title from Orlando Pirates in the finals of 2007 the last time they participated. We went on to lift the trophy in 2009 against Manchester City before the tournament was temporarily interrupted by the 2010 FIFA World Cup epic.
The 2011 clash in the finals will essentially put two bull elephants in the kraal, much to the excitement of those that would have secured their seats at the historic Coca Cola Park Stadium.
The Amakhosi may not want to miss such an incredible opportunity.
I am also happy that reports from our team’s camp are positive following a week of intense incubation and training in the High Performance Centre at the University of Pretoria in Tshwane.
Our new lads seem to be blending well with our systems, whilst our youngsters are keenly waiting for an opportunity to shine in the big arena.
The Technical Team has a large minefield of talent to introduce whilst we may likely bid farewell to Knowledge Musona should the outcomes of negotiations in Germany favour his course.
The latest report is that he has captured the interest of the host team and only time will tell before he puts pen to paper to secure a rewarding experience in Europe.
A 2011 WOMEN WORLD CUP
The tournament has unquestionably proven that anyone can be as they choose regardless of gender, race, colour or creed.
For weeks we have been captivated by the talents of women that donned their national jerseys to represent their countries in this exciting tournament. Japan and the United States of America have qualified for the finals following their captivating display of enterprising football in the build up stages.
With Japan being prematurely dismissed against Germany and the USA against Brazil, no one could have thought that both would smell an opportunity to contest the lucrative world trophy. The history books would however be rewritten just like they were in the erstwhile historic world battles.
Developments in South America have kept us interested following the exciting U/17 that Mexico lifted. They scored a double when their senior team lifted the Gold Cup. With the Copa America competition being currently contested, the nations have indeed kept us glued to our televisions as the drama unfolds.
On the other hand, our U/23 National teams has done well to qualify for the All Africa Games whilst the bigger challenge to make it into the 2012 Olympics in London remains the bigger challenge.
I am certain we shall continue to work hard and support Shakes Mashaba and his lads to win an opportunity into the international sporting stage.
Kaizer Motaung (Mr.)