If there are a few things this World Cup has brought to light for me it’s that:
For one, I DON’T hate South Africa at all. I’m actually proudly South African and I really love my country more than I even realise… it’s most of the people that I can’t stand (generalizing but you get the point).
Secondly, South African’s do not have self esteem and they do not believe in themselves as individuals or as a nation. Even Sepp Blatter had more faith and confidence in SA as a nation that could pull off hosting the World Cup, than most South Africans did. In fact, I still hear the moaning and negativity. There are clusters of people that are so bloody NEGATIVE it’s sickening.
At first it was all about how we would never pull it off (talking about FIFA 2010, keep up people). Then they had to generate interest and excitement via commercials because having the Soccer World Cup in your backyard and talking about it for 6 years straight wasn’t exciting enough. Then it was all about how Bafana wasn’t good enough. Then it was like “yeah see, we did it, we pulled it off”… like WTF, why do you need to justify and convince your own people that they are capable of more then what they’re accustomed to?? And then there were the “this is so great, I wish it could be like this all the time-s”… erm, hello, it CAN be like this all the time, all you have to do is to stop bitching and moaning about EVERY. SINGLE. THING. It’s called having a little faith in the nation.
In the entire 6 years that the World Cup was shoved down my throat by the media, I did not once think that we couldn't pull it off. I always knew that it would happen, I just never thought that I'd be here to witness it (but thats a whole other story on its own). It’s that subtle constant negativity that is so ingrained in the SA culture that gets me down; and its no wonder that most days I just want to get the hell out and go to a place where I feel and believe that anything is possible, a place where such positive notions are airborne and a given. It's probably a good thing that most foreigners and nations will never see or experience any that negativity first hand (because South Africans, like most of the football players in this World Cup, are great actors) and that it is something that people only get a whiff of once they reside here. I blame Apartheid for instilling generations with negativity and realistically speaking, one cannot undo over a half a century’s damage in just 16 years.
I have to say that I'm quite annoyed with all the people who have purchased block tickets from FIFA… talking like 30 or 50 tickets for a game… then sell it off to others at astronomical prices. And I’m not talking about people who’ve bought tickets but have to re-sell because they can’t make the game or even those who are selling their extra tickets that cost R560 for R600 etc. I’m talking about those greedy MOFO’s that are asking over R1000 for a ticket they paid R140 for. That has pissed me off royally because if you go to FIFA’s site, they say all the tickets are sold out, yet clearly there are a lot of empty seats in the stadia. Whoever thought they’d make a hefty profit at the expense of other’s at this World Cup, I hope you don’t get to sell anything and that you go bankrupt FOREVER, YOU FUCKING BITCHES!
People don’t understand that it robs other poorer / more disadvantaged people of getting the opportunity to experience the game. They just don’t get it because they're only ever thinking of themselves and what they can gain from the situation. And it’s that kind of South African mentality that peeves me off to no end… where everyone is out to make a dime at the expense of everyone else. These mofo’s couldn’t just enjoy this one thing without scoring out of it. If I cared more, I would have reported every single one of them… I may still if I’m bored… for fun.
In other news… I’m sad that Algeria is gone. I was rooting for my fine Muslim brothers but its okay, they will live and still be fine tomorrow and in the next four years. I was downright shocked when Italy, the reigning champions, got the boot before making it out of the group stages. I guess this really is anyone’s World Cup and it seems as though the altitude really is / was an issue for most of the teams.
If you want to know the effect that altitude can have on a person, I’ll give you an example. Way back in them days of colonialism when people from the Northern Hemisphere came to settle in the South, they struggled to adjust to the altitude to such a degree that most of the wives in these camps either couldn’t conceive babies or if they bore children, their children wouldn’t survive for long periods of time. So in order for them to rear normal, healthy babies, it became essential for couples who conceived to have their children in the North or in their place of origin, and the women had to stay there for a year or two after the child was born before they moved back to the Southern Hemisphere.
No wonder most of them can’t kick the ball into the net. Shame.
The other day I found out that each player receives US$1600 for each game that they play and the winning team receives US$30 million, the runner up US$24 million and third place takes home US$20 million. At the end of the day it’s all about the money innit. And to a large extent, FIFA is a gambler and a con-man, conning most of the world out of their hard earned cash and luring each player to the promise of “stardom”. No wonder they’re so emotional and such great actors. Speaking of acting, I miss the days when real men played real football and collided with other real men on the field before they got up and carried on playing like nothing happened. These days there are so many pansies on the field acting like prima donna’s for every minor bump and bruise incurred, its ridiculous. Oh and let’s not start with the ludicrous calls by delusional referees… we could be here all day.
But with all the drama, I have to say that for me, the positives outweigh the negatives. There have been a lot of debates about the World Cup from Muslim and non-Muslim clerics alike. My views are as such: I like to live my life in moderation and I believe that at the core, that is what Islam is all about. So yes, we cannot idolize these football players no matter how hot they are; and yes we shouldn’t be missing our Salaah for a game; and yes we shouldn’t go to extraordinary measures to attend these matches at the expense of our family’s well-being or our finances etc. BUT I believe that if something is not overtly Haraam and forbidden, it should be regulated and moderated and most importantly, I believe that as a Muslim nation, we cannot isolate ourselves to the point where our behaviour segregates people and nations, does not foster kinship and instead generates animosity.
As Muslims, we are instructed to spread the word of Islam to anyone willing to listen. How do you spread the word when you’re so isolated that no one wants to hear what you’ve got to say? As Muslims, we are also instructed to respect all other religions and cultures. Well this is the culture of football. And every aspect of it may not be entirely kosher, but we are not the Judgers of His Creation and if people transgress The Almighty’s Laws, you can be sure that they will be held accountable for it. We can choose to live in moderation and in a manner that does not condescend but inspires others. We can choose to take the best out of the World Cup; to appreciate our differences and similarities; to cultivate bonds and friendships based on respect and understanding. After all, no man is an island and it gets lonely in the corner. We are not compelled to participate in those practices that seem questionable or that we do not agree with… but we can still respect it for what it is. The Prophet SAW was a great example of a man who did not necessarily participate in cultural events and activities, and as long as it did not infringe on the laws of Islam, he did not prohibit or deny these practices and activities amongst his people either.
I re-iterate, I do not like the beautiful game nearly as much as most people do. But I do love the beautiful men, and on Judgment day, I believe that I will be held accountable for my actions, as everyone else will be held accountable for theirs. In the meantime, I will enjoy the few minutes that the world is not centered around petty politics and religious fanaticism.