Tomorrow all eyes will be on Africa (I wonder how many times that sentence will be written today) for the 2010 World Cup. Being "Surrounded by Aliens" in my own home...it is difficult to decide for whom to cheer. USA? Ireland is ruled out since they didn't qualify, nor did Ethiopia. So, then do I cheer for my home team? Or for an African team? Or, since there is a Mexican in the extended family, Mexico? Not being a huge football (soccer) fan, I'm not up on who is favored (other than our Mexican family member says Spain will win this year).
The importance of this World Cup will only be known after it is all over. How much highlighting of South African culture will be done by the US networks? Will coverage be positive or patronizing? Will social issues be talked about so that the world will know how to help Africa? Will the hard work that many Africans are undertaking to transform their continent, their countries be brought to the fore, or will poverty and crime be the only focus of reporting?
It is with a hopeful heart I watch the World Cup to cheer on South Africa as a country and representative of Africa. And, I am being optimistic that the host country will be treated with respect by journalists and sportscasters across the world, and that the fans travelling to South Africa keep an open mind, and spread the news that Africa is no different than any country in the world with amazing culture, hospitality and, yes, its challenges. So, I'll be cheering for South Africa to show the world what a wonderful football event they can host!