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FaraiToday Exclusive: FIFA 2010 World Cup Talk With South Africa’s 1st Lady Of Sports, SIMPLY CAROL MANANA!

Filed under : Africa, Sports

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Our South African Correspondent & Mzansi “It” girl, Allegro Dinkwanyane got this exclusive interview with arguably the first lady of sports, Carol Manana. Check it out…

Carol, Allegro & Victor K

I had the privilege of sitting down with South Africa’s leading female sports anchor and radio personality Carol Manana. Or Simply Carol to her fans & listeners throughout the country. Simply Carol and Victor K co-hosts the only sports drive show in South Africa on SABC Radio 2000. Their show is produced by super-duper producer, JDeeLekota.

So when I entered the Radio 2000 studios, she was sitting comfortably on the couch, reading a newspaper and had forgotten that the interview was today. (I don’t blame her; she is a very busy lady, especially with the 2010 World Cup slowly approaching).

Simply Carol – excuse the quality of the pics y’all, but it was one of dem days!

Besides all the madness in studio, she took some time off to share her thoughts about the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

FaraiToday:Where were you when the draw for the 2010 host nation took place?

Carol Manana: The SABC had a live broadcast with different presenter’s across the country and I was in Midrand at a party hosted by Vodacom, where celebrations were taking place and different VIP’s were present. It was quite nice.

FaraiToday:What was your first expression when the envelope had SA on it?

CM: Ahh, oh! First everyone expected it to say “l’afriqued’suid” (South Africa).  So as it came out we could see that it wasn’t an L and and A so we were a little bit disappointed. And we knew the likes of Morocco were also in the running and a lot of people, especially the ones that were biding were not supporting South Africa. But it had to come to us; we had to be vindicated for 2006.

FaraiToday:Did you ever have any doubts that SA would be elected to host this historic event?

CM:Not really, I knew we were ready but we had other strong countries that were biding and anything could have happened.

FaraiToday:At some point there were doubts that SA would not finish all renovations and building new stadiums in time. What were your views at this point?

CM:Ahh, not necessarily. I was at Germany in 2006 and even when I was there, there were still renovations happening, roads were still being constructed and buildings were being built whilst the event took place. Uhm, we have been prepared for so long, the plans have been put through and the bid books that were submitted to FIFA had all of the guarantees and everything had deadlines. The government was also ready with all the finances and I knew we were following the planbut obviously there were people who were skeptical. Thinking “Africa for the first time?” And we had not seen the stadiums as yet, everything was still a dream. I just didn’t like it when the media, especially international media started to talk about a plan A and plan B. But hearing it from SeppBlatter(FIFA president), that “no matter what, it’s going to be South Africa” put away all doubts.

FaraiToday:However, SA did prove critics wrong and have successfully completed all stadiums and other facilities to be used for the WC. Which is your favourite host city?

CM:I’m torn between Durban and Johannesburg. The Moses Mabhida stadium is amazing. Durban is going to offer tourists the best of SA. They have the sea, and the inland and it’s going to be the warmest place during June. But Soccer City in Johannesburg is also fantastic. Both the opening and closing ceremony will be in Johannesburg. Johannesburg will obviously take the lead in terms of the city to be in during the World Cup.

Simply Carol in her domain!

FaraiToday:Looking at all the World Cup stadiums in South Africa, which is your favorite?

CM:It has to be Durban’s Moses Mabhida stadium and the Soccer City “the Calabash”.

FaraiToday:Will you be watching the games live?

CM:Yes, obviously because I have access but I will be watching mostly the games happening closest to JHB, including those in Pretoria, JHB and Rustenburg. All this because I will be doing a breakfast show that requires me to be in studio every morning from 6-7am.

FaraiToday:Which group do you think is the most difficult?

CM: I think Group G. The one with Brazil, Portugal, and Cot’ de Voir. It should be very tough.

FaraiToday:Were you discouraged or a bit scared when Bafana were drawn in the same group with France and Mexico?

CM:Not really. All the nations are good so any group for us would have still been tough but we’ll see what happens.

Simply Carol & I at the SABC Radio 2000 studios

FaraiToday:Do you believe in home-ground advantage and do you think it might help Bafana get further in the tournament?

CM:Yes! Definitely… I’m crossing my fingers for us and Bafana will not be alone, they have the fans, homegrounds and luckily for them they do not have to get used to the climate unlike other teams coming to SA. If we believe in ourselves anything is possible.

FaraiToday:How long do you think Bafana will manage to stay in the tournament?

CM:Sheeeew!! If we do really well, then I say the quarter finals are the closest we will get to lifting the trophy.

FaraiToday:It’s no secret that Bafana might have not qualified for the WC had it not been hosted by us. Which other African country did you think deserved a spot in the tournament?

CM:Nigeria and Egypt! They deserved to be in. I’m not too sure about Algeria…

FaraiToday:Looking at Bafana’s progress after the Confederations Cup, do you think they are mentally and physically ready to take on previous WC champions?

CM:Uhmm, yeah by now they should be because it’s now or never. If we not ready by now, we never will be. They have been training overseas so I think their fitness levels are good. Mentally…for  now they might be, but when all the other teams touch down in SA, it might be different mood. Nerves will be running high because they know they have to deliver. It’s about national pride.

FaraiToday:Who do you think is going to lift the Fifa 2010 cup on the 11th of July?

CM:I have three. Brazil, Germany or France

FaraiToday:Brazil or Argentina?


Victor K & Simply Carol

FaraiToday:Your favourite local soccer player?

CM:Uhh man! I have to go with Steven Pienaar, he’s the best and Matthew Booth.

FaraiToday: LionellMessi or Christiano Ronaldo?

CM:Oh wow! Another difficult one.Uhm…skills wise I’d have to go with Messi but for hotness I’ll go with Ronaldo. Hahaha, he is too hot…

FaraiToday:The hottest guys in football are found in which counrty?

CM:Theirry Henry is hot, so I’d have to say France and Portugal.

FaraiToday:As a South African, how will you be welcoming the rest of the world next month?

CM:Oh wow! I’ll be wearing specially designed 2010 outfits to show my support. I will be hosting Gala dinners and showcasing the best of what SA has to offer. Basically giving them an experience they will find nowhere else but in South Africa.

FaraiToday:Your “best wishes” message to Bafana is…

CM: It doesn’t get better than this. This is our time, the world cup is on home soil and it’s time for us to show the rest of the world what we are capable of. If the fact that we are the first country in Africa to host a Fifa World cup does not motivate them enough, then I don’t know what will. History will be made in South Africa and for the rest of Africa.

My message to Bafana-Bafana: Come on guys, this is the chance we’ve been waiting for. 2010 is our year, let’s play like we’ve never played before. When you step onto that pitch and when you sing the national anthem, do it with pride because it’s all about national pride. Forget about rankings and play the games of your lives. It’s now or never, so just do it. SiyaVuvuzela and if all else fails, Jabulani* and have the time of your lives.

* Jabulani is the name of the official 2010 Adidas match ball.

From your girl Allegro Dinkwanyane – “I’m just saying with my fingers crossed and so did Simply Carol”, so have your say…

Who do you think is going to lift the 2010 FIFA World Cup trophy on the 11th of July at Soccer City? And while you at it; add your message of support to your favorite World Cup soccer team…


Holla back & let us know your thoughts….

Muah & ♥ ya for it!

farai – who has written posts on Farai Today.

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