Front row seats to the 2010 World Cup

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My name is Ashraf Stakala and Iโ€™m a part-time football blogger from Cape Town South Africa. I have been asked by Web Addict(s); to write about how I was able to get my hands on a Media Pass for the 2010 world Cup and in effect a ticket to every game in Cape Town.

I started a football blog back in 2008 called safootballfans.co.za which focused largely on the South African Premier Soccer League and the English Premier League. Like many aspiring bloggers, I started out with the idea that blogging would be a lucrative form of income for me. I could not have been any more wrong. I think I made about $5 with Google adsense in a good month!

It became clear to me that blogging would only work if you had a passion for what you were blogging about and luckily for me football was something that I was very passionate about. I continued to blog at SA Football Fans for just over a year and a half before I finally decided to close the blog due to pressure from my day job as an Engineer. The passion was still there though and a few weeks later I decided to start a new blog using Gooogleโ€™s Blogger platform, which I would use as a portfolio of sorts. (Link: http://safootballfans.blogspot.com/)

One of my blog posts became quite popular and was picked up by the biggest football website in Africa, and was later also picked up by one of the biggest football websites in the world, Goal.com.

I never got paid for the article but the Goal.com editor kept in contact with me, and a couple of months ago he asked me if I would be interested in working for them as a South African field reporter at Cape Town Stadium during the 2010 World Cup. Needless to say my response was something along the lines of โ€œHELL YEAHโ€.

It has been an amazing experience thus far and quite surprising to see how much behind the scenes work goes into every World Cup match to ensure that things go off without a hitch.

I have been stationed inside the Stadium Media Centre, along with the other journalists and photographers. The facilities are world class. HD Sony Viao laptops in the Internet corners, Full HD 40โ€ Sony Bravia TVโ€™s at every table, and lightning fast internet provided by Telkom (believe it or not). Here is a speedtest I did at the Stadium Media Centre.

Internet Speed test at Green point Stadium
Internet Speed test at Green point Stadium

My day starts with me making my way over to Cape Town Stadium from my home in Mitchellโ€™s Plain and collecting my match ticket, parking pass and a pass to either the press conference or the mixed zone (an area where all the players pass through before leaving the stadium). I then head off to the Waterfront where I interview fans of both sides, asking them for their predictions, while also taking some pictures of the fans who put some effort into dressing up for the occasion. I will then head back to the SMC and write an article about the fans predictions and mail it to the Editor.

My only task for the rest of the day is to try and get some exclusive quotes from the players, coaches or a well known media figure like Bruce Grobelaar for example. I also have to update(via twitter) the editors with information that the camera might miss, like a substitute being told to get ready by the coach or a player struggling with an injury.

So in a (very large) nutshell, thatโ€™s how a part time blogger from Cape Town managed to get front row seats to the 2010 World Cup.

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