World Cup Impressions

Posted by Carl Gould on July 23, 2010
7 Stage Success with Carl L Gould, News Articles

I admit, when the USA competes in the World Cup, I barely took notice.  I would lose any bet that required me to recite our team’s roster.  The last time I took notice of the USA”s participation was when Brandi Chastain scored the winning goal and took off her jersey in celebration.

When I heard that South Africa was awarded the host of World Cup, I was more than a bit skeptical.  Could they really pull this off?  Do they have the infrastructure? On my last two visits (I travel to South Africa annually around the same timeframe-first 2 weeks in July- each year), the Gautrain, the Stadiums, the roads and other facilities were all under construction. Would they be ready?

And what about safety? Give their violent history, would the international traveler feel comfortable and secure in South Africa?

Of even greater concern was the presence of the Vuvuzela is an INSANELY LOUD horn that is popular among the South African soccer faithful and one Vuvuzela, when blown, can be heard a city block away. Imagine a stadium full of them? The World Cup organizers wrestled with whether or not to permit them in the stadiums. They chose to allow them. Good call.

Was the Vuvezela, and south African’s ready for the world stage? That was the big question. South Africa with a resounding…YES!

The old story coming out of South Africa was some version of poverty, racism and violence. There is now, finally, a new story to tell! South Africa threw one of the best parties the world has ever seen!

The new story is a much more positive one which includes diversity, beauty, acceptance and the abundance of spirit.

Fan parks all around the country had a Super Bowl-like atmosphere for EVERY match, not just the final.  The schools closed for one month, the fan experience was so exceptional that 50% of the people who showed up for a match didn’t even have a ticket! They were coming for the atmosphere, food, drink, attraction and energy that surrounded each match.

There was such a positive vibe! I watched the semi-final match between Netherland and Uruguay at a fan park in Johannesburg. We sat at a table outside of a cage (all of the streets in the Melrose Arch section were closed to allow for pedestrian traffic and to allow the restaurants to expand their seatings all the way out into the streets), with a fan group from Uruguay on one side of us and a Dutch group on the other.  Each side cheered (and trumpeted) for their team and allowed the other to do the same.  No taunting or fighting, no finger pointing or barbs thrown. This was celebration!

I was thoroughly impressed by the country, the people, authorities, and the organization of the events. While no event of this magnitude comes off perfectly, South Africa was impeccable.

I was  delayed on my flight into Durban and I, as well as nearly 1000 other passengers (including the co-pilot of our plane!) missed attending the match live, so I watched the match at the airport on TV.

Now, the Vuvuzela, once thought of as a nuisance, has become an international phenomenon. One report told of a UK company selling 40,000 Vuvuzelas in England. They have found their way into cricket and rugby matches around the world.  Passion can make quite an impression can’t it? South African left quite an impression on me and has left Brazil, the next host of the next World Cup, with a tough act to follow.

Carl L Gould is the president and Chief DISCoverY Officer CMT international, LLC (, the farthest-reaching business mentoring organization in the world. Carl’s unique approach to executive coaching, business mentoring and performance training helps his clients achieve results worldwide.  His upcoming book, The 7 Stages of Small Business Success – From Startup to 7 Figures in Three Years or Less, will provide entrepreneurs and business owners a step-by-step formula to taking their businesses to the next level.


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