FIFA World CUP Begins Today

The biggest sporting extravaganza FIFA World Cup starts in South Africa on Friday (June 11,2010). On the streets, people are blowing their vuvuzelas — plastic horns now symbolic of the World Cup. Flags are being sold, spit and polish being applied to Soccer City, where the hosts meet Mexico in Friday’s opener. It’ll be a first for Africa, a continent the Olympics have feared to tread.

South Africa has invested 33 billion rand (about Rs. 20,000 crore) in World Cup-related infrastructure, according to the local media.  In what should be familiar to Delhiites, albeit on a far bigger scale, new stadia have been built, old ones refurbished and the transport system that includes a high-speed train and a new bus system upgraded for 19 billion rand (about Rs. 11,500 crore).

The South Africa 2010 party got under way in style last night with a joyous, colourful and truly African FIFA World Cup Kick-off Celebration Concert in Soweto, Johannesburg.A wide variety of acts took to the stage but the abiding theme was one of celebration for the African continent with the event broadcast across the world. The countdown clock introducing the three-hour extravaganza finally hit zero and with it came a cacophonous roar as seemingly thousands of South Africa flags were lifted aloft creating an ocean of colour among the estimated 30,000 in attendance.

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and South African President Jacob Zuma jointly opened the concert after the early acts. The concert drew to a spectacular conclusion with Colombian pop princess Shakira in impressive form. She was joined on stage by Freshlyground for a rendition of ‘Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)’, the Official FIFA World Cup theme.Another proud concert-goer was Soweto local William Oosthuizen who spoke with pride as he took a rare break from dancing.

With soccer mania at fever pitch, the mobile phone screen is fighting for its share of space with the TV. A host of mobile phone software and application developers are gearing up to roll out specialized applications for the World Cup which promises to bring the excitement right into the palm. There are applications where one can watch the highlights of the best goals, get the latest game updates, and play latest soccer games right from their handset. The mobile companies and application developers expect significant growth in revenue from such applications in the Indian market.

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