(WFI) South African police minister Nathi Mthethwa has played down local newspaper reports that chances of a terror attack during the tournament could be as high as 80 percent.
Reports in the South African Sunday Times said that Pakistani and Somali militants were running training camps in neighbouring Mozambique and that some militants may have already crossed into the country.
“There is no specific terrorism threat to South Africa as we speak. I don’t think our intelligence is weak, we are able to challenge anybody with our intelligence,” Mthethwa said, as reported by Reuters.
He added that there was no room for complacency, saying it would “be folly for any country to grandstand and proclaim that it is immune to terror attacks.”
Mthethwa also revealed that around a dozen British football hooligans had been intercepted trying to enter South Africa.
Britain’s tough anti-hooliganism laws require those convicted of football-related violence to surrender their passports during major tournaments. Intelligence about them is also shared via Interpol.
Mthethwa suggested that some of those on the list had tried to enter South Africa via Dubai, but would not give further details.
He added that those who slipped through the net would not be welcome in South Africa.
“Those people present themselves as tough,” Mthethwa said. “We want to show them there are even tougher people out there.”
Players round on World Cup match ball
Adidas have hit back at player criticism of the official World Cup ball, the Jabulani, with its official spokesman decaring himself “surprised” at the reaction.
“We started using it in December in a wide variety of leagues,” spokesman Thomas van Schaik told The Associated Press.
“All the response we have had has been positive.
“On top of that, we have distributed it to all the finalists so that they have been able to get used to the ball. Apparently they have not taken advantage of that if we are only hearing this criticism now. I am quite surprised in these circumstances.”
As players hone their preparations at training camps, the Jabulani, has been the subject of almost universal scorn from players – a fate that seems to befall every official World Cup ball pre-tournament.
“I believe it is a shame to play with a ball like this and such an important tournament,” said Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
Brazil’s Julio Cesar sarcastically described the ball as “similar to those you can buy in a supermarket.”
“It’s sad that an event as important as the World Cup has such a rotten ball,” Spain’s keeper and captain Iker Casillas was quoted by the Austria Press Agency, of the ball which ironically translates from the IsiZulu “to celebrate”.
“This new generation of balls is very fast and it isn’t just the goalkeepers who are complaining.”
Indeed, not just goalkeepers are adding their names to the debate
“It’s very weird,” said the Brazil forward Luís Fabiano. “All of a sudden it changes trajectory on you. It’s like it doesn’t
want to be kicked. It’s incredible, like someone is guiding it.”
Bradley says US can build on Confederations Cup success
United States manager Bob Bradley says that last year’s Confederations Cup run, in which his country reached the final, provides excellent grounding for the World Cup.
The US are one of the first teams to arrive in South Africa, having landed at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo airport Monday afternoon.
“Obviously for us it’s different to other teams,” said Bradley.
“We have been here before, we have played in these conditions. The players know what to expect.
“It’s good to be back in South Africa again. What I can say is that the team is ready to get started here. This World Cup is in winter – that means it’s going to be cold. That is good for football, because that means teams are going to play at a high pace and temperament.
“We will be playing at the same stadiums, same cities, so that means we will confront the same conditions. So far the preparations
have been good.”
Local Organizing Committee ceo Danny Jordaan welcomed the US arrival.
“The USA won the hearts of many South Africans when they made it to the final of the FIFA Confederations Cup last year and we welcome them back to South Africa,” he said.
“With over 136,000 tickets already sold to their fans, the USA will be followed by many passionate fans in the coming weeks.”
Capello expected to remain with England
England coach Fabio Capello is expected to remain in his post after the finals, despite the attentions of Inter Milan who had identified him as “the ideal candidate” to succeed Jose Mourinho.
Capello had previously held talks on his future with former FA chairman David Triesman only for them to be abruptly curtailed following his departure from Wembley last month.
Sir Dave Richards, in his capacity as chairman of Club England, held “very positive” talks with Capello on Monday about the removal of a get-out clause in the Italian’s contract. This is supposed to be the key sticking point over Capello’s future and its resolution is believed to have assured Capello’s future in England.
Italy’s leading sport newspaper, Gazzetta della Sport, reported Tuesday that Inter are pessimistic over landing Capello, adding that they will make one last attempt to lure him with the offer of a three year €9m per season contract.
Germany’s stand in captain Philipp Lahm insists his country can overcome its injury nightmare after Schalke defender Heiko Westermann became the latest player to be ruled out. Westermann broke his foot in the 3-0 win over Hungary on Saturday. “That we have lost players who are enormously important for us is a shame,” said the Bayern Munich full-back, chosen as captain in place of the injured Michael Ballack. “But we still have a top squad which can go far.”
South Africa built on their impressive World Cup preparations with a 5-0 win over Guatemala at Polokwane’s Peter Mokaba Stadium. On the night that Aaron Mokena became the first Bafana Bafana player to win 100 caps, they extended their unbeaten run to eleven games under coach Carlos Alberto Parreira.
In Concepcion, Group H qualifiers Chile ran out easy 3-0 winners against Israel.
With reporting from WFI’s European correspondent James Corbett ([email protected])
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