The excitement surrounding the World Cup is at an all time high with matches beginning this Friday. South Africa has been busy laying the groundwork to host the some 300,000 people who plan on attending. We have seen the building and renovating of 10 stadiums, improvements in communication networks, new transportation (e.g. the Gautrain http://www.gautrain.co.za/) and bus systems, etc. There is no doubt that the excitement of hosting is taking over South Africa. Yet, behind all of the preparation and excitement, there is skepticism as to what will happen to the country when the matches have been played, the crowds have gone home, and things are back to normal. Who will fill the stadiums and ride the new transportation lines? Will those who built and renovated the stadiums (in less than ideal conditions with less than ideal pay) continue to have a job? In the end, what will the economical boost be and who will it benefit the most (FIFA , South Africa, both)? Will the World Cup help solve South Africa’s problems?
Let’s be honest. Problems will arise after the FIFA World Cup Trophy is awarded and the World Cup will not solve all of SA’s problems. … but, just maybe giving a country that was once so divided a chance to unite over something so powerful is worth it. South Africa is a country full of culture, history, and beauty. This is a chance for the world to see all it has to offer.
So, where does Liberia fit into all of this? Well, the Lone Stars, Liberia’s national team, is no stranger to the football world. In 1995, the Lone Stars produced the FIFA World Player of the Year, George Weah (who, by the way, ran for presidency in 2005 and lost to the current president, Ellen Johnson- Shirleaf). The team even boasts their own (up to date!) webpage (http://liberiansoccer.com). They may not be competing this year but don’t count them out forever- the naming of a new head coach earlier this week is the beginning of the road to the World Cup 2014!