June 18th, 2010
World Cup ‘Ballers On Breaks: South African Adventures
In between the first week of World Cup action, a few of the national squads took a football timeout to do good deeds (or, in Paolo Ferreira’s case, look cute while fending off jacket-eating wildlife.)
Hugo Lloris was just one of the seemingly less-than-enthused France NT players who visited the Dam Se Bos township last Sunday. Despite being chosen by the city of Knysna to help local residents inaugurate their new football pitch – a thank you for hosting the French and Danish national teams during the tournament - Andre-Pierre Gignac and a few other compatriots wore their longest faces during the day trip.
The squad is peeved at their own country’s sports minister - Rama Yade – for publicly ridiculing their posh South African pads. For the initial half of the tournament, Les Bleus are staying at a resort in Knysna which overlooks the Indian Ocean. Yade, who also paid a visit to the town’s youth separately, felt the accommodations lacked “decency” during an economic crisis.
Not everyone was down on their luck, though. Florent Malouda managed some hand gestures and a smile as he posed with his posse, and Thierry Henry helped Patrice Evra muster up a playful pout during the trip.
Two days before the WC began, Cristiano Ronaldo and the team’s head coaches took time out of their training schedules for a Nelson Mandela meet and greet. Not too shabby.
Back at base camp that same day, Pedro Mendes, Ricardo Rocha, Paulo Ferreira, Rolando, Daniel Fernandes, Danny and Beto visited a wildlife park.
Prior to that, Joe Cole stood on a rock.