December 23, 2010
I would like to wish everybody a very happy Christmas and all the best for 2011.
I also want to thank you all for the amazing support you gave to 'The Shirt 2010' and to 'More than a Game' during 2010.
The refugee crisis is, of course, ongoing and with every new war and catastrophe that occurs more and more children, women and men around the world find themselves becoming refugees.
Please remember the refugees this Christmas and, if you can, please support them in any way possible during 2011.
As a side note, I am still hoping to publish a book about my experiences in Africa. If this goes ahead it will likely be in late spring 2011. As soon as there is any news I will update you all on this blog, by email and on Facebook.
Thanks once again to you all!
August 11, 2010
A month has passed today since the World Cup final in South Africa and my return to Europe.
Have had plenty of time to reflect upon the amazing experiences in Africa between April and July. I was hoping to write a book together with Bjorn about his year on the road but that looks like it isn't going to happen.
So - you know what? I think I will write a book about my own experiences with the Shirt 2010 project, my journey from Kenya to South Africa...and, of course, the 2010 World Cup finals.
I made bags of notes aside from the blogs you have read here; I've got dozens and dozens of unpublished brilliant pics to share with you all.
So, please keep checking this site from time to time and I will let you know about where and when you can get hold of my book chronicling my experiences in Africa.
To date, this site has been followed in 52 countries. For all you statistics fans out there, here is a rundown of the ten cities (including two towns) in the world where this site has been most followed:
(Up to and including July 21)
1. Riga, Latvia
2. London, England
3. Leicester, England
4. Oslo, Norway
5. Birmingham, England
6. Kaunas, Lithuania
7. Nuneaton, England
8. Tallinn, Estonia
9. Johannesburg, South Africa
10. Linwood, USA
Understandably, Bjorn is feeling exhausted by his exertions of the past 13 months. I also feel pretty done in - both mentally and physically - by my much smaller contribution to 'The Shirt 2010' project.
It is hard to say, therefore, at this point in time, where exactly the project will go from here in the coming months. I very much hope there will still be an exhibition, book and 'The Shirt 2014', but it is impossible to say just now.
My advice would be to check this blog (let's say) once per month for any updates, and to continue logging on to www.theshirt2010.net every now and then to hear Bjorn's news and updates. I guess new previously unpublished photos will be added to both www.theshirt2010.net and www.justinworldcup.weebly.com on a regular basis in the coming weeks.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank every single one of you who has followed this project and supported us in any shape or form. The messages of support and encouragement were always greatly appreciated whilst on the road in Africa. I am sorry that it was often impossible to reply to you personally at that time.
I hope this project has encouraged us all to think more about the world's refugees. I hope each and every one of us will continue to think of the refugees in the future and, on occasion, offer our personal support to them wherever in the world they may be.
Thank you to you all!!
All the best,
Isn't it time that FIFA should be forced to behave within the boundaries of international law?
It is reported that the organisation has left South Africa with a tax-free profit of $2 billion.
Despite big promises from the likes of Blatter and Valcke that FIFA would 'provide the tools to help fight poverty and disease', football's world governing body has again taken advantage of the disadvantaged and then left the scene of the crime with obscene amounts of profit in its pockets.
If you wanted to buy merchandise while you were in South Africa then you could expect to pay anything up to 750 rand (65 pounds) just for a South African replica top. In fact, so strict was FIFA in enforcing its 'official merchandising' only rule that local businesses in South Africa were unable to offer cheaper quality alternatives to the FIFA-licensed products.
And how much did it cost FIFA to produce their official line of products? According to the UK's Guardian newspaper:
The Jabulani ball was not produced in Africa. Instead, it was made by Pakistani workers paid around less than 2 pounds per day.
World Cup mascot replicas were produced by Chinese workers earning less than 2 pounds per day.
Nike's world cup replica kits were produced in Jakarta by workers earning approximately 3 pounds per day.
Why couldn't these goods have been produced in Africa? Why couldn't those who made them have been paid a reasonable wage?
And as for reports that 1.2 million seats remained unsold for the 2010 World Cup - on the basis of what I saw that figure seems accurate. FIFA could have and SHOULD HAVE set aside 10,000 free tickets per match for the local community. Your average South African could not afford to attend the 2010 World Cup finals.
Those of us lucky enough to be in South Africa for the 2010 World Cup would be the first to take their hats off and congratulate the authorities for the way the tournament was run.
However, the absurd prison sentences that have been dealt out to a number of individuals for what are, on the whole, petty crimes have left myself and many other visitors with a bitter taste in our mouths. Here are two examples where fines, rather than prison sentences would have sufficed:
22-year-old Themba Makhubu is serving a five-year sentence for allegedly stealing a telephone.
21-year-old Martin Palmer is serving 12 years in prison for breaking in to a tourist's room and stealing a decoder.
Come on South Africa! Do the sensible thing and release these individuals with a fine. They have already served enough time inside.
Who was the best player at this year's world cup?
Personally, up until the final and third-place play off, I was 100% with Schweinsteiger but, now, I'd also have Forlan and Iniesta in the running.
You can vote now by scrolling down to the right-hand side of this screen. Simply click on the player you want, then scroll down to the bottom and click 'vote'.
19% of you correctly predicted Spain would win the world cup in the previous vote on this site.
Please stay posted over the next few days. I hope to upload plenty of new photos from the past three months on to this site...and post some final thoughts and news.
Sunday, July 11
Joburg - Dubai - Birmingham
It's almost 24 hours from South Africa to England with two eight-hour flights and an eight-hour stopover in Dubai.
Dubai crushes my spirit somewhat. I had planned to leave the airport and explore the city for a few hours but it is 41 degrees, I have come down with a cold, and I couldn't sleep on the overnight leg here.
It's all bling, bling, bling as the majority of passengers are frantically running around duty free buying perfume, cameras and gold chains. I can't be doing with it. Give me the friendly laid-back vibe of South Africa instead of this nonsense.
It's clear skies all the way over Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon before we head out to sea and the final leg of my journey home.
So many amazing memories from the past 17 weeks flash through my mind.
I feel so proud of what the project has achieved and I feel privileged to have been involved in it all with Bjorn.
The world cup and the South African road trip were the icing on the cake. I had a brilliant laugh with the lads: Geordie Robin, Colombian Rich, Blackburn, Camper Van Nick, Aussie Tim and Swiss Fabio - to name but a few. South Africa was the ultimate road trip.
The plane touches down at Birmingham and I'm in the same pub watching the World Cup final as where I began this adventure back on April 8, nervously waiting for my flight to Nairobi.
My friend Andy picks me up from the airport at half time so we can watch the second half at his house in Solihull. My head is spinning as i tell him and his lovely lady, Vickie, all about the past three months, while on the TV the Dutch team turn the concept of 'total football' into 'zero football' on the other side of the world in South Africa.
I'm glad Spain beat Holland. The Dutch, especially the likes of Van Bommel, were a disgrace at times. It seems bizarre that I was in Joburg just 24 hours ago and that Bjorn and Blackburn might have been in that stadium with Mandela tonight.
After a couple of beers with Andy and Vic we call it a night. I'm absolutely done in. I've also got a live radio interview with BBC Leicester at 7am to look forward to in the morning.