A Football Report: The AFR team is sharing its diverse perspectives on the drama that unfolded yesterday in Switzerland in a series of posts throughout the next day or so. The series features perspectives from our writers who call places like Montreal, Paris, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney, London, Manilla, Boston, and Lisbon home. We continue with the perspective of Soraya Soemadiredja, a recent graduate of the University of Toronto now living in Manila. She didn’t hold back. Enjoy.
Russia and Qatar? “YES! FIFA proves once again they’re all about the money!” And, more specifically: “Are you surprised your general culture of neo-liberalism has destroyed your own shot of hosting a World Cup in favour of two countries about which you westerners have unjustified and generally unfair stereotypes and generalisations?”*
A Football Report: Soraya Soemadiredja
The scene above is from the International Media Centre, from Torontoist (go there for actual interesting news about the summit). These figures in the photograph are international media here to cover the G20 summit in Toronto. According to Torontoist, in this photograph, they are actually watching the World Cup (Denmark versus Japan, to be precise). In the Alternative Media Centre (where the International NGOs, watchdogs and alternative media are parked), they are also watching the World Cup.
AFR: Have a sore throat, a high temperature and feeling exhausted? Maybe you have a World Cup fever.
A Football Report: Soraya Soemadiredja, Toronto.
We’ve all done it, stayed up late or woke up far too early during a work day just to catch that football match we’ve been waiting for. But the World Cup only comes once every four years, and late nights cheering on one’s favourite team from halfway around the world becomes the norm this month.
In Indonesia and other Asian countries, the latest live matches of the “day” are at 1:30 in the morning, the day after. With matches on nearly every night for a month, weekends and weekdays, and with at least two matches per night, most people are getting less and less sleep than usual, especially those who have work or school the next day.
So recently, Indonesian health experts (and employers) are growing concerned about the increased rates of actual fevers and fatigue-related illnesses caused by these late nights which, n most occasions, stressful and full of excitement, but also usually accompanied with cigarettes, booze, caffeine or sodas and energy drinks to stay alert during the match.
A Football Report: By Soraya Soemadiredja, Toronto.
For Canadian residents, the World Cup isn’t the only world event they’ve got their eye on this June. The G8 and G20 annual summits are going to be hosted, at great cost the Canadian taxpayers, in Toronto and Ontario.
Yes, yes, this is all well and good for political watchers, you say, but can I go back to my football? In a second, I promise. According to the Globe and Mail’s Canadian columnist, Michael Kesterton, thirteen of the nineteen nations and one geo-political region that represent 85% of the world’s wealth have “soccer” as their “national past time”, whether or not they are represented in the current World Cup.
A Football Report: By Soraya Soemadiredja.
Eudy Simelane was a well respected midfielder and captain of the South African women’s national soccer team, Banyana Banyana, passionate about the game. She was also gay and that’s why she was murdered. On the 28th of April 2008, at the age of 31 she was gang-rapped and stabbed while being subjected to “corrective rape”. Simelane’s teammate from the Tsakane Ladies football club, Girlie “S’gelane” Nkosi, aged 37, a lesbian activist actively fighting against hate crimes, was stabbed and murdered a year later in Kwa-Thema, where they were both from.
“Corrective rape” is an attempt to punish and change somebody’s sexuality through rape. Horrible events like this is by no means isolated solely to South Africa. Discrimination and hate crime towards gays and lesbians is a world wide problem. But in South Africa, according to ESPN who researched and reported the story in the video above, “a disproportionate number of female athletes have been victims, if only because more are openly gay as Simelane was”.
A Football Report: Soraya Soemadiredja, writing not from Singapore, but Manila.
A month before the World Cup, Africa and African footballing culture—at least, as dictated by FIFA—has taken over a little area of Southeast Asia in the FIFA Official Store. Not in Geneva, not in Johannesburg, but in Singapore.
To remind us that the World Cup is A Big Deal, in January of 2008 FIFA opened its first Official Store in the new terminal of Singapore international airport, where in 2009, there were 27 million passengers that came and went. That’s means foot traffic from anywhere of 200 cities in 60 countries. That’s a lot of mobile football fans.