Wednesday, June 23, 2010

President Zuma Says South Africa Is Ready to Host the 2020 Olympics,0,2724892.story


South Africa has its eye on bigger Games — the 2020 Olympics
South Africa President Jacob Zuma says the nation's staging of the World Cup demonstrates its capability of hosting a major sports event. And IOC President Jacque Rogge says he would 'love to have a credible African candidate' bid for the 2020 Games.

By Grahame L. Jones and Kevin Baxter
6:08 PM PDT, June 22, 2010

Reporting from Johannesburg, South Africa — South Africa hopes that by staging a successful World Cup it will become a viable candidate to host the Olympic Games, perhaps as soon as in 2020.

"We have got the facilities. Those who take decisions have seen how South Africa is. I'm sure we can do it," Jacob Zuma, the country's president, told Reuters on Tuesday. "It is now known Africa is capable of hosting any serious tournament."

Cape Town bid for the 2004 Games that were awarded to Athens. Durban is considered a potential candidate for 2020.

And International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said in a German radio interview last week, "I'd love to have a credible African candidate for the next Games to be chosen, namely those of 2020."

Grandmother sees red

Referee Stephane Lannoy of France has come under fire from a 70-year-old Brazilian grandmother because of the red card he dished out Saturday in Johannesburg.

Kaka's grandma wasn't happy about the call.

"I can't repeat here what she said about the referee," Brazil's playmaker said Tuesday. "She was happy with the way I played but . . . she launched a bit of a tirade at the referee."

The red card, picked up in a 3-1 victory over Ivory Coast, means Kaka will miss Brazil's match on Friday against Portugal and with it the chance to play against his Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.

Injury woes for Portugal

Deco, Portugal's 32-year-old Brazilian-born playmaker who will retire from the national team after the World Cup, might have played his final game of the tournament. He was scheduled to undergo an MRI scan Tuesday because "he still has pain in his right hip which is preventing him from training normally," a team spokesman said.

Deco was replaced by Tiago in the starting lineup against North Korea on Monday and Portugal won, 7-0, with Tiago bagging two goals and assisting on another.

Portugal had another player sidelined Tuesday — midfielder Ruben Amorim is out for six days after injuring his left thigh in training.

Dutch women freed

Charges have been dropped against two Dutch women, Barbara Castelein and Mirte Nieuwpoort, who were arrested as part of FIFA's crackdown against ambush marketing.

The two were among two dozen or three dozen women who attended the Netherlands-Denmark game wearing orange mini-dresses bearing a tiny label from a Dutch brewer, Bavaria, which had paid for their trip to South Africa. As part of the settlement, Bavaria has agreed not to engage in any ambush marketing at future World Cups through 2022, FIFA said.

Short passes

Defender Steve Cherundolo, one of 17 Europe-based players on the U.S. World Cup squad, has had his contract with Hannover 96 of the German Bundesliga extended by two years. Cherundolo, 31, has been with the club since 1999. . . . Rain has affected the playing surface at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth but England midfielder Steven Gerrard said it would not affect his team's match against Slovenia on Wednesday. "The pitch has a few problems," he said, "but I've certainly played on worse."

Times wire services contributed to this report.

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