Balls, Horns and Olympic Dreams

Paul AustinCorrespondent IJune 24, 2010

Unless you've been away on a vacation to Mars for the last couple of weeks you can't help but have noticed there's a little event called the FIFA World Cup taking place, and indeed, even if you have been on Mars, with the cacophony of vuvuzela's emanating from the dark continent, you still may have noticed it.

And whilst the host nation might have been eliminated from the tournament on Tuesday night in Bloemfontein, it doesn't appear to have dampened the politico's enthusiasm for all things sporting. In fact, President Jacob Zuma has now said that the event should be used as the springboard for a bid to host the Olympics in 2020.

The timing of these comments are remarkably convenient for International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, who only last week said that he would love to have a credible African candidate for the next unassigned Olympics, namely 2020.

But is South Africa a credible host Nation?

Well there can be no arguing that South Africa has the facilities and infrastructure, as has been shown at the 2010 World Cup, and it is also beyond doubt that the IOC has already shown it is not afraid of making bold decisions, as it demonstrated by taking the summer Games to Beijing in 2008 and to South America for the first time with Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

However strong doubts remain over whether a viable bid can be tabled.

On the negative side for South Africa, is the fact that many people have been left less than impressed by the current World Cup, with complaints flying in about the Jabulani, the deafening, and annoying vuvuzela's, the abundance of empty seats, and even a strike by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), that forced the government to step in, and use armed police for stewarding purposes.

Whilst some of these hiccups can be laid at the door of FIFA, most notably the choice of the Jabulani and the timing of it's introduction, there can be no argument that South Africa has to shoulder at least partial responsibility for many of the mistakes made this summer, and that's leaving several members of the IOC feeling very uncomfortable about the thought of awarding the country the 2020 Olympic Games.

So what will happen next?

I guess we'll have to wait and see if President Zuma's government makes the bid official, and if they do we'll have to watch out for the reaction of other members of the IOC, and whether or not they try and distance themselves from Jacques Rogge's comments about an African bid.