PelÚ's Africa warning draws advice

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The little saga this week involving comments by Brazilian football god PelÉ about issues with security in Africa ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup is worth noting not only for the obvious parallels with Brazil's own issues for the 2014 Cup but also for the response by South African Football Association (SAFA) president Kirsten Nematandani.

The comments related to the serious incident involving an attack on the Togo national team in Angola during the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations tournament, with PelÉ'€s quite simple assertion that the episode would have repercussions for South Africa 2010 security drawing a rapid reply from Nemetandani that "Angola is a far way from South Africa" and that "people must remember that Africa has 52 countries. "Brazilian Football Confederation bosses take note, as a similar concept applies to the 2014 Cup: just as South Africa has distanced itself from troubled nations in the same neighbourhood to avoid being caught up in negative incidents and stereotypess, so too should Brazilian host cities distance themselves from the country's chief source of negative images: drugs and violence in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Despite Rio's obvious position as the centrepiece of 2014, which will include a second FIFA World Cup final on the hallowed turf of Maracanã, the other 11 host cities and hundreds of tourist destinations far away from the infamous slums will, combined, play a far greater role than Rio alone. Indeed, with 90% of the matches to be played in cities other than Rio, a good portion of visitors and certainly many locals will not go anywhere near the city during the event. That's certainly not to say that the other host cities do not have problems of their own, however there is nothing really rivalling Rio's dilemmas in terms of open violence, and the likes of Curitiba, Natal, Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre boast some of the highest standards of living in Latin America. As such, convincing worried potential visitors that Rio's problems are a long way from their tranquil, tourist–friendly settings should certainly be on the agendas of host city and state governments as the 2014 Cup approaches. About Simon TarmoA journalist from Sydney, Australia, and co–founder of industry journal Australian Sponsorship News, Simon Tarmo now lives in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Having worked on a range of writing, research and trade projects across a number of industries including sport, entertainment and wine, he is currently focusing on business opportunities involving the 2014 World Cup and Rio 2016 in Brazil. With fluent Portuguese language skills, he has an extensive network of contacts throughout Brazil and can advise and assist foreign groups doing business in the country. More details http://simontarmo. blogspot. com/ ~ Simon Tarmo+55 31 9196 0069simon@pando. com. auhttp://simontarmo. blogspot. com/

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