Saturday, December 5, 2009

Draw Results

Fresh from the World Cup draw in Cape Town, here are the group games we have tickets for: -

M2 - Cape Town A3 v A4 11 June 2009-20:30
Uraguay vs France

M11 - Cape Town F1 v F2 14 June 2009-20:30
Italy vs Paraguay

M20 - Soccer City B1 v B3 Thus 17/06/2010-20:30
Argentina vs South Korea

M24 - Rustenburg D4 v D2 Sat 19/06/2010-13:30
Ghana vs Australia

M29 - Soccer City G1 v G3 Sun 20/06/2010-20:30
Brazil vs Ivory Coast

M39 - Soccer City D4 v D1 Wed 23/06/2010-20:30
Ghana vs Germany

It's a shame we did not pull an England or New Zealand game, but we do get a Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Italy & Austraila game to watch in the group stages.

Overall, it looks like it's been a kind draw to England, up against USA, Algeria, Slovinia in Group C, from which they should progress to the round of 16, (hopefully with USA).

New Zealand can't be too unhappy with their Group F draw, ignoring Italy, they only need to get results against Paraguay & Slovakia to progress. Not easy, but not impossible....

Finally Australia have a much harder time of it, up against Germany, Serbia & African dark horses, Ghana, in Group D. This group is going to be a lot tougher to get through, especially with a strong Ghana team playing on African soil, and you can never dismiss the Germans...

Okay, now I need to have breakfast and start looking at buying some more tickets...

Happy Days...!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

FIFA are up to their old tricks again...!

Looking back at my last post, I was effectively correct with my prediction for the seeding and groups, except for getting the pot numbers wrong and the the swapping of France for Holland as a seeded team.

If you understand anything about the way FIFA seed teams for major tournaments, you'll know that they effectively make the rules up as they go along, for their own "promotional & marketing" reasons. There has never been much consistancy in the way FIFA apply their so-called rules over the years, and they deliberately make the rules vauge enough to allow for some creative interpretation at a later date. If you need any better evidence of this just look at the "last-minute" decision to seed team in the European qualification play-offs....

So what has FIFA done this time....? Well, for the seeding of the World Cup draw later this week, they have decided to exclude the results from the last 4 European qualification play-off games and therefore used the world ranking as they stood at the end of October. Had the play-off games been use in the seeding calculation, (as they have been in past World Cups and other tournements), then France would have been seeded ahead of Holland....!

So if FIFA creatively changed the seeding of play-off games to help France to qualify for the World Cup, why would they again change the rules to stop them being seeded...? Could it be that in light of the global outcry over the "Hand of Frog" incident, that FIFA are now stealthily penalising France for Henry's handball....??

Never underestimate FIFA's ability to manipulate both the seeding and draw for their own benefit....

Let's do a little test.... I wonder who is going to be grouped with the seeded South African hosts at the draw this weekend...? I am strongly of the belief that FIFA have a vested interest in ensuring that South Africa make it though to Group stages, as it's always better for the Hosts to remain in the tournament for as long as possible, (for those "promotional & marketing" reasons). With this in mind I am going go out on a limb and suggest that we should not be too surprised to see South Africa drawn with some of the 'minnow' teams that have made it to the World Cup. My guess is that they may end up grouped with the likes of New Zealand or North Korea from pot 2, Chile from pot 3 and Slovakia, Serbia or Slovenia from pot 4.

My thoughts from the last post about what the teams we are following need to do to qualify for the Round of 16 are pretty much the same. The only real difference is that now Holland has been seeded, it means that England will avoid them in the group stages, and quite honestly, as long as we don't get drawn with either Portugal or Ivory Coast, I'll be happy. The flip side to that is that the USA, NZ or Australia could be in a group with Holland and one of the other teams above, which I think will make moving beyond the group stage difficult.

Anyway all will be revealed very soon.... I'll be up early on Saturday morning to watch the draw live and be posting here what team we will be watching with the tickets we have....

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Final 32

Back in August I took a stab at trying to guess which teams would make it in to the final 32 that would qualify to travel to South Africa next year. At that time 5 teams had already qualified and there were 27 spots left to fill, and in the end I managed to correctly pick 19 of the teams that did manage to qualify, giving me an average of over 70% correct..! (If Yates had been on the ball, he could have gambled some money on my picks, and made a few dollars)

Of the teams that did not make it, the most disappointing result was in the qualifier between Northern Ireland & France. For a game of such magnitude with so much riding on it to be decided on such a blatant handball, clearly shows that something needs to be done to help referees get to the right decision on the night. Whilst I can understand that the introduction of video-technology has the potential to interrupt the flow of a football game, (stopping-and-starting the game), I think that the 10-15 seconds it would take for a TV referee to analyse goals & penalty claims, would have a minimal impact on a game. I mean the game stops for about 30 seconds after a goal or the award of a penalty anyway, so the disruption would be minimal, but the benefit to having games won fairly would be enormous. It's certainly something that could be considered.

Of the other surprises in this last stage of qualifying, Slovenia (ranked 33rd) beating Russia (ranked 13th) was a massive upset in terms of world football. Slovenia are a real European minnow with a population of only just over 2 million, compared to 140 million people in Russia. It was also good to see teams like Honduras, Algeria & especially New Zealand overcoming the odds to qualify, but I could have done without the Uruguayans sneaking in at the expense of Costa Rica.... Never mind...! There are some that say the World Cup is devalued by not having the top 32 strongest teams competing, but part of the magic of this tournament is the chance to see some of the smaller teams creating an upset against some of the world powers of Football. Just imagine New Zealand beating France or Portugal in the group stages, that would be something to see.... Next years tournament will have representatives from all of the 5 football confederations which indicates to me that WC2010 will be a global competition.

So now we have a couple of weeks before the final draw in Cape Town to mull over the possible combinations that we could end up with. The draw will be seeded with the top 7 teams, (based on FIFA rankings), plus South Africa, put in to Pot 1, and the remaining 8 European teams in Pot 2. The remaining 16 teams should be split along confederations lines, so here is how I see the pots working out: -

Pot 1 (seeded teams): Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Spain
Pot 2 (rest of UEFA): Denmark, Greece, Holland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland
Pot 3 (CAF + rest of CONMEBOL): Algeria, Cameroon, Chile, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Paraguay, Uruguay
Pot 4 (AFC + OFC + CONCACAF): Australia, Honduras, Japan, Korea DPR, Korea Republic, Mexico, New Zealand, USA

The draw will consist of a team being pulled from each of the pots to make up the 8 groups for the initial group stages of the World Cup.

From an England perspective, they will be a seeded team and I will keeping my fingers crossed that we don't get Holland or Portugal from pot 2, and maybe Ivory Coast from pot 3 or Australia in pot 4, (although I would not be too disappointed to see New Zealand in England's group just for the fun of it).

With the Australia, USA & New Zealand being in pot 4, it's all about which seeded team they get matched up with. There is a lot of hoping and praying going on in each of those countries that they get lucky and get drawn in the host nation, South Africa's group, as they are seen as the weakest of the seeded teams. I'm not sure whether this would be as good a result as some might think, the World Cup tends to give the host nation a bit of a boost. Looking back over the past 3 world cups, the host nation has made it to at least the semi-final on each occasion, so you never know....

My theory is that regardless of who gets drawn in any particular group, a team needs at least a win and a draw, (2 wins would be better), to have chance of progressing to the next round. This means that Australia, USA & New Zealand could potentially lose to the seeded team in their respective groups, and concentrate on beating the other 2 teams in their groups. Again, I wouldn't want to come up against either Holland or Portugal from pot 2, and I will predict that whichever group that Holland end up in will be known as the infamous 'Group of Death', so keep those fingers crossed. So therefore, from a Australia, USA & New Zealand perspective, a group with South Africa, Slovenia, & Chile would give them a pretty good chance... Again we will have to wait and see...

Finally, I would like to see any of England, Australia, USA & New Zealand drawn in group D as we currently have tickets for 2 matches in that group, but any group will do as long as we get a chance to see our favourite teams...

So keep them fingers crossed and your eyes focused on the draw coming up on December 4th in Cape Town... Less than 200 days to go...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

One Shot For Glory

This past weekend, Fiona & I travelled north to Wellington to support the New Zealand All Whites in their crucial 'do-or-die' World Cup Qualifying play-off match 2nd leg against Bahrain, and what a match it was....! The Kiwi's had it all to play for after managing to cling on for a 0-0 result in Bahrain, meaning that effectively only a win would do, (taking into account the away goals rule).

We arrived in Wellington on the Friday before the game, and even then there was a definite buzz about the city. The word had gone out that the team wanted all the fans to wear white to the match to create a virtual 'White-Out' in the stadium. We hunted down the shop selling the 'ALL WHITE on the Night' T-shirts, but they had already sold out of shirts, and we had to return after 5pm to get one of a new batch....

Saturday morning we wandered around the city watching the excitement build, with plenty of fans already in white filling up the bars and cafe's. We headed to Queens Wharf to watch the mini football tournament and grab a few pre-match beers, and even then the place was already packed with fans sporting all kinds of white costumes. Fiona & I played a game of 'spot the Premier League Football Shirts', (we saw 9 of the 20 team represented), among the myriad of NZ shirts and white boiler suits.

We had planned to head out towards the stadium at around 6pm and made the most of our early arrival to have a good look round the 'Cake Tin' as the Wellington Westpac Stadium is better known. The crowd was in high spirits as they began to fill the ground, lots of laughing at people dressed in white, or made up like Elvis and some even dressed as sheep. Just before kick-off the hero’s of the New Zealand 1982 World Cup campaign did a very well received lap of honour to the applause and cheers of the now full stands, especially when Winton Ruffer fell over.

As we got towards 8pm the atmosphere in the stadium started to crackle. Being a rugby obsessed nation, New Zealanders are not well known for their love of the 'Beautiful Game', but on this night there were over 35,000 Kiwi's that were fully behind their team and singing and shouting their hearts out. The boo's rang out when the Bahraini team came out on to the field, followed shortly after by a huge roar when the All Whites made their way out on to the pitch. After a respectful hush during the Bahraini national anthem, there followed by the best rendition of the Kiwi national anthem I have ever heard at any sporting event. And then it was game on....

The first 10 minutes were tense and nervous, especially for the All Whites who were taking their time to settle on the ball, with Bahrain having the lion share of the early possession, and even a few half-chances on goal. Mark Paston the kiwi goalkeeper made a few good saves early on, giving him a feel of the ball and staying solid behind the robust Kiwi defence. Midway through the 1st half the All White began to calm down a little more and started to play the ball out to the wings and make good progress down the field. Leo Bertos put in a few good crossed, and Fallon headed a sharp angled header that brought the best out of the Bahrain goal keeper.... Oooooh, so close. Coming towards the end of the half, New Zealand were well in command, and beginning to exert some real pressure. With a minute to go the Kiwi's got a corner that was taken by Bertos, who put in a great cross, straight to the head of Rory Fallon who rose highest to nail the ball into the back of the net. GGGGGOOOOOAAAALLLLLL....!

We could not believe it..... Half time and New Zealand were ahead with that most important of goals, and the cheering and chanted echoed around the whole ground. Because of the away goals rule, we knew that a one goal lead was vary precarious , and that the Bahraini team only needed to score just a single goal and they would qualify. Our fingers were very tightly crossed....

The second half got underway and the Kiwi team started very defensively, obviously that slender one goal lead must have been weighing on their collective minds. No sooner had the half started than Tony Lockhead put in a rash and clumsy challenge in the box..... PENALTY...!!! I could not believe it...., we had been so close, and now I sat with my head in my hands almost unable to watch.... And then the most remarkable thing happened...., Paston saved the penalty...!! UNBELIEVEABLE...... If the roar for the goal had been loud enough to hear all across Wellington, the roar the emanated from the penalty save must have been heard in Australia and beyond... Amazing..!!

The rest of the 2nd half went by so slowly for me, I could not stop looking at my watch and thinking that the All White were now only 'x' minutes away from the World Cup Finals. But deep inside me something had changed after the penalty save, I just had the feeling that New Zealand could not lose now, they could not throw it away after everything that had happened, and that "nothing could go wrong now", (although I kept that thought to myself). The Bahraini's were now having to throw more players forward and leaving gaps at the back. New Zealand were still controlling the game, and even had at least 2 more great chances to put the game beyond reach. 15 minutes to go, 10 minutes to go, and then 5 minutes to go, and we were still just hanging in there. The 4th official held the extra time board up showing just 3 minutes of extra time, which seemed to take forever to pass. The Bahraini's had a last gasp free kick on the edge of the area that went though the crowd of players and ended up in Pastons hands, but before he had a chance to pass the ball out, the referee finally blew his whistle for full time.


The built-up tension that everybody had been feeling was finally released in an emotional roar and the atmosphere in the stadium was unbelievable. The players were collapsed in a big heap and the coaching staff were running and jumping and punching the air. I don't think we could all quite believe what we had witnessed but that wasn't going to stop us chanting and singing while that belief sunk in. Fiona & I stayed in our seats while the team did a couple of laps-of-honour, and cheered each and every player out there. Finally we started to make our way out of the 'Cake-Tin' with many thousands and thousands of other joyous fans, singing and chanting our way back into town. “ALL WHITES...clap, clap, clap... ALL WHITES...clap, clap, clap “

It took ages to get out of the stadium, and at around 11:30pm we found somewhere to eat, and sat down exhaustedly. We swapped txt messages with friends and well-wishers from all round the world, and greedily wolfed down a pizza before heading back towards our hotel. The crowds were out in force in town, with cars hooting their horns and flying NZ flags as the moved around the city. We went to a bar near our hotel and after a few beers, being both emotionally and physically drained, we made our way back to our room around 1am.

I can say without any doubt that the match was one of the best games I have been fortunate to attend, and while the football itself was never going to be remarkable, the atmosphere and passion of the supporters made it a night that will be remembered by all that were there, for a very, very long time.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Travel Plans Now Complete

September is almost over and we are another month closer to the World Cup next June. I am already starting to feel that time is conspiring against me and will just not pass quickly enough so that the next 8 months are going to really drag.
I have now completed the last of travel plans. All of our air travel is now booked and I have managed to work around some of the internal travel issues. For our major international flights into South Africa, we will be heading to Johannesburg, via Singapore on Singapore Airlines. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to pickup some reasonably priced flights, (approx. US$2,000 pp), which suited our timeframe and destinations perfectly.
Getting internal flights between Johannesburg-Windhoek-Cape Town-Johannesburg was a little more tricky. It appears that a lot of seats on internal flights, particularly between Jo'Burg & Cape Town, are being 'Held' by the Airlines until after the World Cup Draw is made in early December. This made booking the fights on the Jo'Burg & Cape Town leg impossible to do right now. This led to a bit of 'thinking-outside-the-box' to find other ways to get to Jo'Burg from Cape Town, and I manage to discover a train service that fortunately runs on just the date we wanted to travel. 'Premier Classe' (, markets itself as a 'dedicated luxury train', with individual sleeping cars and a dining & observation car, with all food and services are included for approx US$260 one-way. As soon as I mentioned this to Fiona, I could tell that this would be a much more interesting way to travel to Johannesburg than the a sterile and bland trip between airports, so the reservation was made and our booking confirmed. This should be a fun addition to the our journey....

So thats it.... All our planning is now complete and now it's just a matter of time....

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Quick Update [Site Admin]

I have done some Site Admin today and noticed that you could only follow this blog if you were a registered Google/Blogspot user...

Bah Phooey I say to that...!

From now on, anyone can sign up as a follower.... Come one, come all

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Odyssey begins....

Yesterday was the start of the English Premier League, which I regard as the start of what will be an 11 month football countdown, that culminates in our trip to the World Cup next year...

Even this far out, all the omens are looking really good and I believe that the planets are coming into alignment. Of the teams that I normally follow, I would give good odds on England & the USA qualifying and joining Australia who have already secured their place. Even New Zealand have an outside chance of qualification, so I could end up spoilt for choice with teams to support....

England are 7 points clear of Croatia in their Group with 3 matches to play. In the European Qualification region, the nine Group winners will be guaranteed a place at the World Cup next year, with the eight best runners-up competing in two-legged play-offs for the four remaining places at stake. England have 3 tricky games to play, (home games against Croatia & Belarus, and away to Ukraine), if they want to automatically qualify for the finals. Mathematically, England need at least 1 more win to guarantee that group winners slot, but a couple of draws may have to do. If I had to put money on it, I would back England to qualify and Croatia to go through in 2nd Place.

The USA has a couple of important games coming up in September against bottom of the group flounders El Salvador (H) & Trinidad and Tobago (A), which if they win should secure one of the 3.5 slots available in the CONCACAF region. The USA, Mexico and Costa Rica look good bets for automatic qualification in this group, but Honduras are a bit of a dark horse, and could cause an upset down the track.

New Zealand have a slim chance at qualification by dint of the fact that they have an upcoming two-legged play-off between either Bahrain or Saudi Arabia, who are battling it out for the 5th place spot in the Asian Region. Bahrain & Saudi Arabia play their own two-legged play-off in September for the right to meet New Zealand for a final dual in November. Whilst New Zealand are really still a minnow in terms of World football, whoever qualifies from the Asian region will have a tough fight on their hands, and as the saying goes, 'every dog has their day'. Fiona & I are expecting to fly up to Wellington in November to fully support the 'All Whites' in their crucial 2nd leg play-off. Come on New Zealand.

As for the other teams that will make up the 32 teams at the world cup finals, here are my predictions:

European Region: Denmark / Greece / Slovakia / Germany / Spain / England / Serbia / Italy / Holland* / Hungary / Poland / Russia / Republic of Ireland
Asian Region: Australia* / Japan* / North Korea* / South Korea*
African Region: Gabon / Tunisia / Algeria / Ghana / Ivory Coast / South Africa*
North American Region: USA / Mexico / Costa Rica
South American Region: Brazil / Chile / Argentina / Ecuador / Paraguay
Oceania Region: New Zealand

* - Already Qualified

I wonder how many I will get right....?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Less than 1 year and counting

Hello again

Well it’s less than 1 year now until the opening match of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and our plans for the next football pilgrimage are in full swing. I thought I would put together this post to let you know what we are up to.

Yates and I have been keeping our eye on the tickets sales phases for World Cup 2010, and so far we have tickets for 8 matches. These matches are: -

Match 2 - Green Point (Cape Town) - Group Stage
Match 11 - Green Point (Cape Town) - Group Stage
Match 20 - Soccer City (Johannesburg) - Group Stage
Match 24 - Royal Bafokeng (Rustenburg) - Group Stage
Match 29 - Soccer City (Johannesburg) - Group Stage
Match 39 - Soccer City (Johannesburg) - Group Stage
Match 52 - Soccer City (Johannesburg) - Round of 16
Match 58 - Soccer City (Johannesburg) - Quarter Final

World Cup 2010 tickets are ONLY available via the FIFA website, and the 2nd Ticket Sales phase is currently open until 14th November 2009, ( NOTE - Most of the games available in sales phase 2 are already sold out.

There are 3 further Sales Phases in which you can pick up tickets: -

  • Third sales phase: 5th December 2009 to 22nd January 2010 - In this phase you will need to fill out an application for tickets, and then all applications will go into a random ballot on 1st February 2010
  • Fourth sales phase: 9th February 2010 to 7th April 2010 - Ticket applications submitted during this sales phase will be processed, subject to availability, on a first-come-first-served basis - in the order of receipt.
  • Final / Last Minute sales phase: 15th April 2010 to 11th July 2010 - Ticket applications will be processed on a first-come-first-served basis, but these tickets will only be available from the point-of-sale, (in South Africa), not via the website.

Yates and I will be applying for tickets in each of the succeeding sales phase in an attempt to get a maximum of 18 matches, including the World Cup Final.

We have been very busy over the past month or so and managed to secured our accommodation for both Cape Town and the Johannesburg areas. We have booked early to try and lock in a good rate for what is going to be a 'premium' period during the World Cup, Accommodation is only going to get both more expensive and harder to find as we get closer to the World Cup draw in December late this year, after which the location of all qualified teams will be known.

Cape Town - 6th June-16th June 2010 (10 nights)
We have booked a 2 bedroom Apartment in the City Bowl district of Cape Town, which is within walking distance to the Green Point Stadium and the V&A Waterfront, where the Fan Fest site is likely to be located. The apartment has secure underground parking as we will be hiring a car during our time in Cape Town and doing some touristy stuff on non-match days.

Pretoria - 16th June - 15th July (29 nights)
We have had a slight change of plan for our accommodation in the Johannesburg/Pretoria/Rustenburg area. Originally we were going to look at getting a corporate apartment in a complex in Central Johannesburg, but after some investigation, these apartments were just to expensive to be considered seriously. We also came to the conclusion that with Johannesburg's crime and safety problems that it may be a better plan to stay outside the city in a more countryside setting, and travel to the city for each game. Therefore we cast our net further afield and decided to stay at a bush lodge outside of Johannesburg. This luxury lodge on the edge of a scenic wildlife reserve area is only 1.5 hours from J'burg, 1 hr from Rustenburg and 20mins from Pretoria. Although this is an expensive option, I believe represents better value than an apartment in the city and will be more relaxing on non-match days.

Flights to South Africa for the World Cup period are about to become bookable in the next few weeks, (you can only book flights up to 330 days in advance). It is thought that there will be a high demand for flight during that period, and with a limited number of providers on the route into South Africa, popular thought is that prices will be high. We will certainly be looking to lock in flights from New Zealand, (via either Australia or Singapore), as soon as possible.

After scanning the major car hire websites, it is clear that there will be premium charged for care hire through the World Cup period, and with the higher cost of various insurances in South Africa, car hire is not going to be cheap. The last time I checked, the Avis at Cape Town International Airport did not have any cars even available for the World Cup period...! Car Hire is integral to our plan to allow us to travel to various stadiums, particularly in the Johannesburg area, so we may end up spending over US$100 per day to guarantee our mobility.

Fiona & I are about to book our Namibian Safari pre-trip. We expect to arrive in Windhoek in mid May, where we will stay for a couple of days before heading out on a 14-day Safari, getting us back to Windhoek in early June, before heading to Cape Town.

We are going with a company called 'Wild Dog & Crazy Kadu Tours' on their 14-Day Namibian Experience tour. You can check out the details at the following link:

More news next month......

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thing are looking up

After the disappointment and frustrations of starting to look at accommodation in South Africa for next year, things have taken a turn for the better.

Our original idea for accommodation in the Johannesburg area was to find a couple of serviced apartments in the central business district, and use local transport to attend the local matches, and a hire car for the out-of-town games. It's no big secret that Johannesburg has significant issues with general street crime/violence/theft, which places it high on the list of the most dangerous cities in the World to visit. For that reason we have always felt that it is very important that any accommodation in central Johannesburg must be in a safe and secure environment. As we found out last month, trying to find a safe and central long term serviced apartment, was going to be far more difficult that we originally expected, considering the ridiculous rates that some of them want to charge for the World Cup 2010 period.

The safety issue started me thinking that even if we could find a couple of reasonably priced and secure apartments in the Johannesburg CBD, we may end up getting a sense of being 'trapped' or 'imprisoned' in our apartment when not traveling to specific football matches. During the Group Stages we could potentially have a match to attend every day, but toward the end of the tournament we may have as much as a whole week without a match. What were we going to do with a week off, in a city we do not feel too comfortable or safe walking around in..?

Therefore we started to look at the problem of accommodation in a different way. Instead of trying to find a safe apartment in the middle of the city, we started to look for houses/villas/apartments/lodges outside the city in a more relaxed and generally safer areas, (similar to what we did for France 98). Considering that we will definitely need a car to get to all the possible stadiums and that we would most likely spend some time outside the city towards the end of the tournament, this opened up a lot more possibilities for us. Not only are the prices more realistic and you get more for your money outside Johannesburg, but security should be less of an issue and the surroundings will make us feel more like we are on a holiday than business trip.

Therefore we have booked 2 'chalet-style' apartments for 29 days in a countryside situation on a lodge outside Pretoria. Whilst this is still expensive, (US$200 a night), it offers us a far higher quality of accommodation away from the city, in more natural and relaxing environment. We will be able to travel into Johannesburg/Pretoria/Rustenburg for the football matches, but chill out and enjoy more of a 'African' holiday experience when there are no matches to attend.

Just for a bit of variation, we have booked us into a 2-bedroom apartment for the 10 days we spend in Cape Town. This is quite centrally located and within easy travel distance, (but foot or car), from the Green Point Stadium, as well as the main Waterfront district & City-Bowl. I am of the notion that Cape Town,. whilst not completely safe from street crime, is a whole lot better than the situation in Johannesburg, and therefore safety, whilst still a concern, is not the over-ridding factor when choosing somewhere to stay. I guess we will find out when we get there...?

We current have tickets for 8 World Cup matches, 2 in Cape Town and the remainder around Johannesburg. Although the 2nd phase of World Cup 2010 ticket sales is still open until November, virtually all the matches are sold out. We are planning to see what we can get during subsequent sales phases, but if we end up with just 8 matches to attend, we wouldn't be unhappy. We will however be trying to pick up Finals tickets if we are lucky enough to come across them.

Our proposed calendar shows that we are expecting to leave New Zealand on the 18th May next year, travel to Namibia for a couple of weeks and then travel from Windhoek to Cape Town on or around the 6th June, and be stay there for 10 nights and seeing the 2 matches there. We will transfer to the Johannesburg area on the morning of 16th June, and stay there for 29 nights, leaving on the morning of 15th July. We are also planning to do something on the way back to new Zealand from the World Cup, money & time allowing.

Next on my list is the car hire but this generally cannot be booked more than a year ahead. As there will quite a bit of driving in both Cape Town and the Johannesburg area, we are planning on booking a comfortable mid-size car for both locations. I think the most important aspect of the car booking will be to make sure that it capable of seating 4, with space for at least 4 peoples baggage in the trunk/boot. And if you have ever travelled with Yates before, you'll know how much baggage he can generate all by himself...!!

Like car hire, the flights cannot be booked more than about 350 days in advance, so the last thing on my list will be getting to South Africa from New Zealand. The current high level plan is to get return flights to Johannesburg, (possibly via Singapore or Australia), on a Star Alliance carrier, and then look to get an 'Africa Air Pass' with flights between Johannesburg, Windhoek, Cape Town, and back to Johannesburg. That should cover off all our major travel requirement.

That's about it for now, but I will update this blog next month with further details.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hugely disappointing (World Cup Tickets / Accommodation)

I am hugely disappointed for 2 reasons this morning....

Firstly, my applications for match tickets in the 2nd phase of World Cup 2010 ticket sales has been unsuccessful. And it's not just me, Yates was unsuccessful in his application as well, so both of us came up empty... I find it hard to believe that we had more luck in the lottery than in the first-come-first-served sales...?

Whilst I understand that these tickets are sold on a first-come-first-served basis, I placed my application for tickets within 60 minutes of the sales phase opening, and I find it difficult to believe that everyone else must have been after the same matches as I was after.

What makes this even more annoying is that I can still go to the FIFA website right now and order the exact same tickets...? What the &@#*..?? There is definitely something wrong with the World Cup 2010 ticket ordering process when tickets that are not actually available are not withdrawn from the ordering process? I wrote an email to the organising committee and got just the standard 'its-not-our-fault' reply, so I guess I'll just try and order again.....

Secondly, now that we have some World Cup tickets, I have started to look at accommodation in both Cape Town and Johannesburg, and guess what...? Yup, there is some pretty horrendous price increases being quoted... I was hoping that by booking over a year in advance that I would avoid some of the more aggressive 'price-gouging' of foreign tourists that I have been warned about. Having attended the all the World Cup tournaments since 1994, I have never seen such blatant price increases before. Whilst I can understand that this is a good opportunity for hotels to profit from having a world-class event in their country, but it is disappointing to see this sort of unethical approach to welcoming potential 'Guests' to South Africa.

For example, the Westpoint Executive Suites in Johannesburg, (, normally charge a high season rate of 1,300 RAND per night for their 1-bedroom apartments, but during the World Cup that price leaps to 4,200 RAND per night, an increase of a staggering 323%...!

Westpoint are not alone.... An international Serviced Accommodation company called Move & Stay, (, normally charge 11,950 RAND per month for stays of 1 month or longer in their Johannesburg apartments. I have received a recent quote of 63,800 RAND, which represents a pretty incredible 533% increase.

I wonder how many more of this ludicrous quotes I am going to get before finding a professional company that does not want to completely rip me off...? This is just the sort of behaviour that I would expect in a Third World country and I think it reflects poorly on South Africa.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Welcome to Spiglord's World Cup 2010.

Now with just a few days over 400 days to go, our thoughts begin to turn to the World Cup in South Africa in 2010 once again. Has it really been 3 years since or epic adventure in Germany...? Yates & I will be continuing our ongoing tradition of attending each World Cup since 1994, and you will glad to know that we are well into the planning stage for this World Cup adventure to South Africa.

For those that don't keep up with these sort of things, the World Cup Tournament starts on 11th June 2010 and carries on through until 11th July 2010. As with previous events we are aiming to arrive in-country a few days prior to the start of the competition and stay in a couple of different locations for the duration of the whole event, and returning back to our various homes soon after the end.

Because of the vast distances between cities in South Africa, travel around the country will not be as easy as it was in Germany. Therefore our plan is based around renting a villa/house/apartment in Cape Town & Jo'Burg and hiring a rental car for local travel.

Our current plan is to reach Cape Town around the 6th June and stay in that area for 10 days, attending the 2 group matches in that city, after which we will transfer to the Johannesburg area, (around 16th June), for the remainder of the tournament plus a few days. Using Johannesburg as a base will allow us to attend matches in the two stadiums in that city, (Soccer City/Ellis Park), and also be within close travelling distance to the stadiums in Pretoria, (58kms/30mins) & Rustenburg, (121kms/1Hr). This will give us the potential of being able to attend 18 matches in total, including 2 semi-finals and the Final if we are lucky with the tickets.

On the subject of tickets, between us, yates and I have already got tickets to 7 matches from our efforts in the 1st phase of ticket sales, which include both the games we want in Cape Town, plus 4 games in Johannesburg and 1 in Rustenburg. The next phase of ticket sales starts on 4th May, and we will be co-ordinating to see if we can pick up a bunch more tickets to add to our collection.

The next significant milestones will be booking some accommodation in both Cape Town & Jo'Burg, which will need to be done in the next few months. I have a couple of leads on some possible places of interest, but it's early days yet. After the accommodation comes the flights which can't be booked before August due to the airline reservation systems not taking booking a year in advance. Not too worried about booking flights just yet, once the accommodation is sorted, everything else should just slip into place.

So that's it, the post in the next World Cup Adventure. Come back again soon and see what else is happening in the prelude to South Africa 2010.