Travel to South Africa

Blame it on the overdose of T20, Soccer has clearly outscored cricket as many young fans are geared up for the mega event at South Africa this year. Yes, we are talking about the FIFA Football World Cup 2010. A number of people from Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and a few other metros have already packed their bags for the grand event. Summer is a good time for sports and leisure as we witnessed a lot of that during this year’s IPL. Most summers in India, over the past years, have been cricket crazy as there used to be some schedule filling the calendar each year during summer. But this year, it is slightly different.

With the T-20 cricket world cup already underway in the West Indies, it is a surprise that travel agents are busy planning itineraries in South Africa and not in the Caribbean. Is it an overdose of cricket? I spoke to a friend who works for a travel agency in Chennai and he says this summer’s preferred holiday destination is South Africa as there is a lot of demand already for the world cup starting June 11th. It is a plain fact that India is an out and out cricketing nation, but the overdose is boring the aficionados already.

I remember a conversation with my roommate about the composition of IPL teams before the start of IPL-3. We said CSK and RCB had many South Africans, Mumbai had none, Rajasthan, Punjab was obsessed from a score of big names from down under etc. Interestingly, the identities of these players are slowly changing. They are better known by their IPL franchises than the nations they represent. One guy was asking me “Among, Chris Gayle and Fidel Edwards, who is from KKR and who is from DC? The identity has been redefined and along with that, the spirit in backing our country at the world cup has visibly dwindled. Many cricket enthusiasts are not following the T-20 world cup this year. Blame the team’s recent performances or the schedule that brings matches during wee hours on TV. Many travel agencies are offering packages for the Football world cup and I am surprised to note there were none before the start of the T20 event. The reason is simple. There are no takers.

We’ll wait and watch if MSD and his men can bounce back after their hopes were shattered on Sunday after an agonizing loss against the West Indies. Nevertheless, there is nothing to deter the millions of Indian soccer fans as they are fully geared up to catch their stars live in South Africa. With the English Premier League having a good fan following in the sub continent, there is a lot of eccentricity in the air already. England seems to be the preferred team as stars from the premier league including Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, and Frank Lampard will be in action. The countdown has started already and with the curtains down on the English Premier League season last weekend, the players are almost ready to pack their bags too. What are you waiting for? See you in South Africa then!

Pradeep Sekhar

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