Wednesday, 04 August 2010

2010 World Cup Rankings

These are the tournament rankings from the World cup (from FIFA). Unsurprisingly the top 4 on the list were also the best four finishers in the competition. It's also worth noting that all 5 South American teams finished in the top 10.

1- Spain

17- Ivory Coast

2- Netherlands

18- Slovenia

3- Germany

19- Switzerland

4- Uruguay

20- South Africa

5- Argentina

21- Australia

6- Brazil

22- New Zealand

7- Ghana

23- Serbia

8- Paraguay

24- Denmark

9- Japan

25- Greece

10- Chile

26- Italy

11- Portugal

27- Nigeria

12- USA

28- Algeria

13- England

29- France

14- Mexico

30- Honduras

15- South Korea

31- Cameroon

16- Slovakia

32- North Korea

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Match 2 Review - France v Uruguay

France 0 - 0 Uruguay [Full-Time]

This was a dull affair in comparison to the opening match. Both sides did not play to their potential and it was a very stop-start affair. The Japanese referee officiating was conned by a number of dives from the Uruguayans and constantly had his whistle in his mouth. The biggest moment of the match was the sending off of Lodeiro for his second bookable offence, he had only come on in the second half.

The goal keepers in this match were far more assured and reinforced my initial opinion that the Mexican keeper Perez seems below par. The infamous Jabulani ball almost caused an embarrassment for French keeper Hugo Lloris as it skipped of the surface and out of grasp of his outstretched gloves, he was able to parry it and then collect it on second attempt without any damage done.

The playing surface, rated as the best in the country by Fifa, appeared quite slippery as there were numerous instances or the players losing their feet (even the ref nearly wiped on one occasion). This was probably down to the 'due' factor which is commonly referred to in cricket matches under lights. The match kicked off at 8:30pm and so it appears they was a fair amount of due on the surface and other teams playing the late fixture will have to take note and maybe adjust their footwear to handle the conditions.

Nothing much else to write home about, the French team is made up of quite a few stars and on their day they have the potential to overcome any opponent. The Uruguay side have got a good striking force but overall (from their first performance) don't match the caliber of the Mexican side. The next match between SA v Uruguay and France v Mexico will be crucial to the outcome of this group, for now its all square at 1 point a piece.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Match 1 Review - South Africa v Mexico

South Africa 1 - 1 Mexico [Full-Time]

The first match of the world cup did not disappoint! South Africa put on a good show against a very strong opponent. The Mexicans once again did not make the most of their opportunities in front of goal verifying previous speculation that they are not the most clinical finishers (think back to the friendly against England). Their most lethal player was Giovani Dos Santos (No. 17), a very skillful attacking midfielder who can skip past defenders with ease... reminiscent of Ronaldinho... even his hairstyle :)

The media were talking up the home support being SA's 12th player but if anything I think it was Jabulani (the ball!) which earned that title. There were countless crosses to Aguilar, who in the first half frequently found himself in acres of space down the right side, which were 'overhit'. I think that this was probably due to the lightness of the ball resulting in increased flight. Both sides sent shots from free kicks well over the crossbar. There were also instances when the ball bounced over the heads of players attempting to control a ball on the bounce.

South Africa's best player (despite the spectacular goal from Tshabalala) was Itumeleng Khune, the goal keeper. It was he who kept SA in the game through the jittery start when Bafana Bafana couldn't even string 3 passes together. Had Mexico gone ahead in the first 10 minutes then there would be no coming back. It was Tshabalala who received the Man of the Match award though, for his stunning strike which couldn't have been better placed, landing perfectly in the top right corner of the goal.

The second half was a much improved performance by SA, coach Carlos made a vital substitution, taking Twala off for Masilela, which closed that gaping hole in the left of defence. Bafana Bafana impressed with their quick short passes to shake off their markers and exposed the Mexican defence on more than one occasion. Indeed they had two goal scoring chances which they could have (and probably should have) made more of. But they were not able to hold on to their lead having left 3 Mexicans unmarked on the receiving end of a cross. The ball fell to Marquez who made no mistake with his finish.

Which brings me to the weakest player in the Mexican team. This accolade goes to Oscar Perez, the goal keeper, who looked (atleast from first impressions) far from assured dealing any aerial deliveries, and he was unable to hold on to any ball hit with any kind of venom. Perez also had his upright to thank when he found himself totally flat footed when Mphela slid the ball to his right. We'll have to see if the more renowned keepers (i.e. Casillas, Julio Ceasar, Buffon...) also struggle to hold on to shots and crosses. One thing's for sure, Khune looked more impressive than Perez in this game.

It was pretty obvious that Mexico were the superior side in ability and quality (a fact confirmed with a glance at the Fifa rankings which has Mexico ranked 17th and South Africa in 83rd). South Africa would have accepted the outcome of a draw if offered before the game and that's what they got, so they wouldn't be disheartened and on balance one could say that a draw was a fair result based on proceedings.

Eyes now turn to the second Group A match of the day, between France and Uruguay, due to kick off at 8:30pm in Cape Town. Both South African and Mexican camps will feel that a place in the next round is still within their grasp.

[Photos are courtesy of Getty Images and]

The FIFA World Cup™ Kick-off Celebration Concert

So the concert happened last night... Wow... It was really well organised... Artists from South Africa, the rest of Africa, Columbia and the US got the whole vibe going. None more so than the Black Eyed Peas who had the entire crowd jumping when they performed "Tonight's gonna be a good night" and Shakira warmed up the chilly evening with her performances capped with the official world cup song... (Waka Waka... or something... its a cool song... grew on me). K'naan also performed what has been selected as Coke's world cup anthem (and you know anything they choose will be big) "Wave your flag" and had the crowd waving passionately for their countries.

The local acts did not disappoint either... amongst them the Parlotones, the Blk Jks (Blackjacks lol), the Soweto Gospel choir and Freshlyground... some performing with Shakira and Alicia Keys...

Some of the other African artists/and Juanes perhaps didn't get the crowd going as much as they were probably an unknown entity to most present but I'm sure their performances were much appreciated by their fans following the broadcast on TV...

Overall a really classy stage presentation and also broadcast in HD... Well done to all involved... Its just the beginning...

Wednesday, 09 June 2010

Thoughts on the lead up to the opening game of the World cup... under 2 days to go!

So as Wednesday evening comes to pass there is just one day to go before the Football World Cup commences. There is definitely no shortage of support and encouragement for the host nation. A massive event was organised by a couple of radio stations and at noon today there was a parade through the streets of Sandton with the team in an open-top a bus. Thousands of fans turned out, and throughout the country people were hooting and blowing on their vuvuzelas at noon (though I didn't quite understand what that achieved... perhaps to spread the excitement).

However... one must ask the question... why is there a celebratory event involving the team 2 days before the tournament commences? The first match against Mexico is a test for the team, so one has to ask if they aren't better off either training/resting and remaining focussed for the big challenge that lies ahead? Usually a student who's about to sit for a major exam avoids external distractions in the lead up to the day of assessment and spends time concentrating on how best to prepare for it.

These sentiments were echoed by the coach Carlos Alberto Perreira when interviewed by Supersport on the bus. Let me just say that if there's one guy I support in the Bafana Bafana setup it is Carlos, his recent press statements have been awesome, just shows the man has vast experience and understands football. Whatever happens in the tournament I sincerely hope that he does not criticised for the teams performance cause it is clear that he has done his part. This is what he had to say about the parade, "I have mixed feelings... It is the first time I've ever seen a parade before a match..." (and he's from Brazil!). On being asked if the whole team would be coming for the parade he responded, "No, it is not advisable to have the whole team two days before a big game like this... Where is the football in this, tell me?" And like I said previously I couldn't agree with him more, he was the only person interviewed whose words showed that he was grounded and could see the bigger picture unlike everyone else who was just swept away in the excitement. I'm glad he's the coach.

The parade was a good idea... for the public to celebrate the world cup coming... but I can't help feeling that a significant contingent of the population aren't really excited for the football, and that's what this is all about... the Football world cup, not the opening ceremony or the parades. I fear that its going to be a huge anti-climax for them once the games begin.

I also worry for those who have unrealistic expectations for the Bafana side, the fact is they are in a really challenging group. Both France and Uruguay are previous winners of the tournament, Mexico has advanced past the group stage in the last four world cups and have looked very impressive in the friendly matches against England, Netherlands and Italy prior to their arrival. In fact I reckon that Mexico and not France will top Group A.

My aspirations for Bafana are much more realistic, they're guaranteed three matches and they can do the nation proud by playing good football and scoring goals, they've only ever won a match once before in a world cup (beating Slovenia 1- 0 in 2002), if they manage 1 victory and 2 draws to put them second in the group this time round that'll be a massive feat.

To be selected to represent your country is a rare privilege, to do so at a World Cup hosted in your own country... now that's a 'Once in a Lifetime' opportunity, I just hope the boys realise this and perform to the best of their ability.

Ayeye Bafana Ayeye!

What motivates you?

This is an amazing clip... The message is quite profound (took me a while to digest) and the presentation is exquisite... I wish textbooks came in audio with comics strips like that :)

Google Streetview in South Africa

Google has launched Street View in South Africa (atleast in some of the major cities).

So what exactly is Street View and how do you get to explore it?

> Street View is a layer in Google Earth which goes down to street level to show an image of how the street would look if you were standing at that spot and looking around (i.e. how it'd appear to the man on the street).

> To access street view open Google Earth (if you don't have Google Earth you can download it here) and make sure the street view label in the bottom left of the screen is selected as illustrated in the screenshot.

When this is done you'll notice several camera icons appear when you zoom into the map, click on the one at the address you which to view and then select 'show full screen'.

Upon doing this you'll can click on what appears to be a blurry sphere and it'll take you to the Street View. A sample of the Brooklyn Circle in Pretoria is shown below...

Saturday, 05 June 2010

Thursday, 13 May 2010

FIFA world cup tickets.. are there any left? Status as of 13 May 2010

So a glance at the availability of tickets on the FIFA site indicates the following:

There are no tickets available in the following venues (unless there are cancellations from from foreign FA allocations):

- Johannesburg (Soccer City)
- Johannesburg (Ellis Park)

There are very few tickets available in the following venues:

- Pretoria:
Category 1
Match 38 - USA v Algeria

- Durban:
Category 1
Match 25 - Netherlands v Japan
Match 35 - Nigeria v South Korea
Match 53 - Netherlands v Paraguay (my prediction)

- Cape Town:
Category 1
Match 11 - Italy v Paraguay
Match 30 - Portugal v North Korea

There are still tickets available in various categories for certain matches at the following venues:

- Rustenburg:
Category 1
Match 12 - New Zealand v Slovakia
Match 24 - Ghana v Australia
Match 33 - Mexico v Uruguay
Match 43 - Denmark v Japan

Category 2
Match 12 - New Zealand v Slovakia
Match 43 - Denmark v Japan

Category 3
Match 12 - New Zealand v Slovakia
Match 43 - Denmark v Japan

- Port Elizabeth:
Category 1 & 2
Match 4 - South Korea v Greece
Match 13 - Ivory Coast v Portugal
Match 21 - Germany v Serbia
Match 31 - Chile v Switzerland
Match 37 - Slovenia v England
Match 49 - France v Nigeria (my prediction)
Match 57 - Netherlands v Brazil (my prediction)
Match 63 - Losers final

Category 3
Match 4 - South Korea v Greece
Match 21 - Germany v Serbia
Match 31 - Chile v Switzerland
Match 49 - France v Nigeria (my prediction)
Match 63 - Losers final

Category 4
Match 31 - Chile v Switzerland

- Polokwane:
Category 1
Match 6 - Algeria v Slovenia
Match 18 - France v Mexico
Match 42 - Paraguay v New Zealand

Category 2 & 3
Match 6 - Algeria v Slovenia
Match 42 - Paraguay v New Zealand

Category 4
Match 42 - Paraguay v New Zealand

- Nelspruit:
Category 1, 2 & 3
Match 15 - Honduras v Chile
Match 28 - Italy v New Zealand
Match 40 - Australia v Serbia
Match 46 - South Korea v Ivory Coast

Category 4
Match 15 - Honduras v Chile
Match 40 - Australia v Serbia

For the latest info consult the FIFA site.

Thursday, 06 May 2010

How fast is Google Chrome? Faster than sound... lightning?

Speed tests with a difference... Really creative clip... :)

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Thursday, 18 February 2010

[Aviation] Jet Airways expands international network... to introduce direct flights to South Africa!

Yes you heard right, its finally been confirmed, Jet airways will commence daily direct flights between Mumbai and Johannesburg from mid April 2010.

Flight 9W 242 which is the incoming flight will depart from Mumbai @ 2.05am and will arrive in Johannesburg at 7:35am, the return leg will depart Johannesburg at 11am and arrive in Mumbai at 11:30pm.

Jet airways currently flies to numerous destinations in the Arabian Gulf as well as New York, Toronto, Brussels, London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Kuala Lampur (naturally flights originate in India, most from Mumbai).

[Aviation] - Airbus A380 now flies to Johannesburg, courtesy of Air France

Airbus have now delivered a total of 26 A380s to Singapore Airlines (10), Emirates (8), Qantas (6) and Air France (2).

Air France is the first European carrier to take delivery of the A380. The first aircraft was drafted into its Paris - New York route, and the second will serve the Paris - Johannesburg route! Air France have been operating Boeing 777s on this route 10 times a week but have decided to add a couple of the Airbus A380s and reduce the number of flights to 7 a week come the end of March (made possible because of the increased capacity of the A380). The first Air France A380 flight to Johannesburg landed today morning!

So if you're planning to fly between France and South Africa you know which flight to look out for. A clip of the Air France A380 interior is included, keep in mind that you'll only be able to experience the luxurious amenities if you fly First class :)

Friday, 12 February 2010

[Aviation] Boeing readies latest models to take flight

As a matter of fact, they're already in the air undergoing a barrage of tests. Which models I hear you ask, well one which you may have guessed is the much publicised (probably more because of its delays than any other single factor) is the so called Dreamliner, the new Boeing 787. The mid-sized aircraft initially famed for racking up orders faster than any previous wide body airliner, a figure which is currently over 850, became a victim of its own ambition. At a time when the super jumbo from Airbus was encountering heavy delays that resulted in lose of face and shriveling up of fresh orders, Boeing confidently stated there were no such hiccups with their Boeing 787 progress only to concede later, more than once, that they too weren't as infallible as they led themselves to believe. The resultant delays meant that the aircraft's maiden flight took place more than 2 years later than originally intended!

In fact that maiden flight happened quite recently, it was 15 December 2009 when the first of the 787s eventually took to the air. Any number of expectant airliner personnel would have breathed a sigh of relief to see it in the air, and thats discounting the hoards of Boeing staff who came out to witness the big moment. But the wait is not over, with the first delivery only expected at the end of 2010 following the testing phase.

So what's so great about the 787, well it is built from lighter composite materials which should improve fuel consumption figures. Why is this is a big deal one might ask, the answer is because over the past decade the average percentage of the total running costs reported by airlines indicate that the cost of fuel which used to be around 10 - 15% has escalated to about 30% of the total operational cost! Alright good for them, but set aside the profit margins, what do we as passengers have to look forward to? Will it have a lie flat configuration in economy, unfortunately the seats appear to be pretty much the same as what we're used to (yup, knee breaking, spine crushing... its all the same). There will however be a feature which will allow you to dim the windows (referred to as electro-chromic) with the touch of a button, thereby eliminating the need for a window blind. Its cool but not exactly mind blowing, the clip below shows a demo.

While all the hype has been over the 787 the 'new' 747-8 took flight on 9 February 2010. It looks pretty much the same as the 747 which has been around for four decades but now it features redesigned wings and new engines as its major modifications in an effort to drive down the fuel consumption. You might also notice from the picture the lack of windows along the side of the aircraft, there are only three, that's because this is a freighter aircraft. The passenger variant of the 747-8 to be christened 'Intercontinental' will follow later in the year. Boeing will indeed be able to carve out a market share for the latest 747 as there hasn't been any alternative for large cargo aircraft since the old 747. The A380 freighter variant is suspended for the moment while they try to get production figures of the passenger edition up to the desired figures. So it appears the cargo carriers are queuing up in anticipation to rid their old jumbo fleets in favour of the more economical 747-8.

One thing's for sure, Boeing and Airbus are going to be really busy for the next couple of years churning out aircraft to meet the backlog, lets hope they don't incur any further mishaps.

Monday, 08 February 2010

[Sport - Football] Phase 4 set to commence... Fifa World Cup 2010 Ticket sales

The fourth ticket sales phases kicks off on 9 February 2010 at 1:00pm South African time (GMT +2). In this phase tickets will be allocated on a 'first come, first served, subject to availability' basis so don't delay your application! 400 000 seats will be on sale in this phase, though not all the matches will be available in this phase, those listed below are excluded, possibly due to high demand in previous phases:

Match 5 - England vs USA
Match 11 - Italy vs Paraguay
Match 37 - England vs Slovenia
Match 45 - Brazil vs Portugal
Match 54 - 1G vs 2H - Round of 16 fixture (likely Brazil vs Chile)
Match 56 - 1H vs 2G - Round of 16 fixture (likely Spain vs Portugal/Ivory Coast)
Match 59 - Quarter-final fixture (possibly Argentina vs Germany)
Match 60 - Quarter-final fixture (possibly Italy vs Spain)
Match 61 - Semi-final fixture (possibly England vs Brazil)
Match 62 - Semi-final fixture (possibly Germany vs Spain)
Match 64 - Final

Thus far apparently about 2 million of the 3 million odd tickets have already been sold. Aside from the host nation the most ticket applications have been received from the following countries:

1 - USA
2 - UK
3 - Australia
4 - Mexico
5 - Germany
6 - Brazil

Thursday, 04 February 2010

[Sport - Cycling] Lance Armstrong's doing the ARGUS this year!!!!

This showed up on Lance's twitter feed yesterday, "Hey South Africa! Excited to come down in March. Bringing your man Daryl Impey with me. And yes, we're racing The Argus.... "

Daryl Impey is a 25-year old South African cyclist who has signed for Armstrong's Radioshack team.

For those of you who don't know the Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour is an annual 109 km cycle race hosted in Cape Town, South Africa. This year the main race will be held on Sunday, 14 March and entries are still open of international riders. With approximately 40,000 cyclists taking part, it is the world's largest individually timed cycle race, and is the first event outside Europe to be included in the International Cycling Union's Golden Bike Series.

Photos taken from and

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

[Aviation] Air New Zealand to launch innovative flight seat options... in Economy!

Seating in Economy class on airplanes haven't changed for decades. Over time many airlines have introduced much improved solutions on First and Business class, Singapore airlines offers private suites with a bed on First class on their latest Airbus A380 fleet and Emirates offers showers(!) to First class passengers on their A380s (though limited to about 2 minutes). Now I've flown on an Emirates A380 (in Economy class, naturally) and let me tell you, as far as the seating goes it was just as cramped as any 30 year old airplane configuration.

So I was pleasantly surprised to read an article which stated that Air New Zealand plans to launch 'couples beds' in economy class. About time an innovation or two filtered down to Economy class, and hats off to Air New Zealand for initiating it. See for yourself in the clip below, the economy seating is towards the end. It'll be awesome for off peak flights, a bed for the price of a basic Economy seat.

Content obtained from

Thursday, 21 January 2010

[Sport - Cricket] Why is Pakistan upset with the recent IPL auctions???

Cricketing media have released articles recently with titles like "PCB 'highly disappointed' by IPL snub" and "Pak players to avoid IPL, outrage continues" due to the fact that none of the Pakistani players were bid for in the recent IPL player auction. Do they have a point??? No they don't, and this is why...

May it be said that the Pakistani cricketing officials missed the original deadline to issue their players with clearance documentation for the IPL and only managed to provide this after special measures were taken afterwards.

This naturally would not instill confidence into the various IPL teams who are naturally looking to obtain players with the ability to strengthen their squads and crucially players who will be available for participation as many matches of the tournament as possible.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist/stock broker to realise that there are risks with availability of Pakistani players which are outside the players' and teams control. Indeed last year the PCB/Pakistani government decided to prevent their players from partaking in the IPL due to 'security concerns' (note it wasn't terrorists from India who had attacked Pakistan, so this was rather ridiculous!) and so the IPL franchises had to suffer due to unavailability.

In my opinion this was most evident with the Kolkota Knight Riders (who finished bottom in season 2 of the IPL) whose owner Sharukh Khan, was initially very keen on the Pakistani players and had the most number in his squad of any of the IPL teams. Do you blame him for not bidding for any of them this time round!!!

And the other complaint from the Pakistan corner is that they find it hard to fathom how the IPL franchises could decide that not one of the Pakistanis were good enough to partake in the IPL. This is also ludicrous as once again it can be shown that player availability in the tournament where the number of international players in a squad is capped is key. KKR bought out (effectively released) Ricky Ponting so as to be able to obtain another player (they ended up getting Shane Bond), was it because Ponting is not good enough, or could it have due to his unavailability for the majority of the past two seasons? You decide.

I agree it is a pity about Pakistan who have a strong cricketing heritage, however, one must note that the IPL was not the cause of their troubles. The damn terrorist plot to assassinate the Sri Lankan cricketers was the cause! If only the politicians and PCB would realise that stop complaining about India and resolve their domestic security issues which would allow international cricket tours to go ahead in Pakistan.

As far as the IPL goes, it may not occur to the Pakistani authorities but the IPL had to be moved out of India last year due to security concerns (admittedly the concurrent national elections impacted as sufficient security personnel were not available to safely manage both events), but the whole reason of insecurity was sparked because of, yup you guessed it, terrorist attacks emanating from Pakistan.

Why then is there such disbelief to find out that, all things considered, the IPL and/or IPL franchises are not keen to have Pakistani players partaking just yet?