Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Scotland bow out

The news from South Africa is that Scotland are out of the Homeless World Cup. The valiant Scots suffered three narrow defeats all by the odd goal in their qualifying group. Sundays narrow 5-4 defeat by the Czech Republic was followed by a 3-2 defeat to France and a penalty shoot out against South Africa's B side.

The Scots won over many with their battling never say die spirit, in all their games they were never ahead but never gave up and battled all the way. They continue in the minor tournament and there are many trophies beyond the HWC itself up for grabs.

The event here in Cape Town has been a terrific success and as well as President Thabo Mbeki appearing on Sunday last, Dr Desmond Tutu will be present on Friday. The South African authorities are saying they see the tournament as a dress rehearsal for the FIFA World Cup due here in 2010. What a huge complement for the HWC organisers.

The final of the tournament is live on SABC on Saturday and the BBC Football Focus has a 10 minute piece being prepared for its UK show. The favourites to be in the finals all come from Eastern Europe with Russia and Poland both unbeaten after 6 games and both KAZAKHSTAN and Ukraine having lost just once each.

Away from the soccer world cup yesterday I went up Table Mountain in a cable car and what a wonderful view of Cape Province you get from up top. The mountain top is amazing. Not only is it flat and you can go for long secluded walks on its peak perfectly safely, but it has beautiful plants all over it as well as beautiful birds, lizards and other animals living in its micro climate.

Tomorrow I am being taken on a civic delegation to the altogether less safe environment of Khayelitsha Township, ONE OF THE BIGGEST AND MOST DANGEROUS IN South Africa, to see how the huge black population lives without running water or electricity. 50,000 people still use a bucket system of sanitation! It is apparently very dangerous for whites to visit.

Friday I hope to meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu. So I will send news of that then. As for now I am off to see if I can book a visit to Robbens Island where Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years - it is as you may imagine difficult to get seats on the boat out to it.

At the HWC its Russia vs Poland later today in the most eagerly awaited match of the tourney so far. The 3,500 seater stadium will be bursting at the seams.

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