Sunday, December 07, 2008

FatRef on tour in South Africa

Just as I would normally be blowing full time in the County League. I boarded a Virgin jumbo for the 10-hour flight to Johannesburg and a week of inspecting stadiums that are going to be used for next year's Confederations Cup and then the World Cup the year after. With colleagues, we will be shown around stadiums and given the chance to discuss potential problems with FIFA officials here.

Even after a few hours in South Africa, it's clear that it's a country with a split personality. The hotel I'm staying at is a massive, plush affair, while the journey here from the airport took us past plush villas surrounded by high electric fences, barbed wire and security guards, such is the crime rate.

Outside the hotel is a U.S.-style mall with hundred of designer stores. Standing out in the centre of the centre of the piazza is a six-metre tall statue of Nelson Mandela. Although it's summer here, Johannesburg's position high on the Veldt means the weather is pretty cool. After a few hours sleep in the hotel today, I was awakened by the noisiest thunder claps I've ever heard.

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