Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Why the Cape Town elections are like footy games

If Cape Town’s municipal election result could be compared to the world of football, I was thinking to myself this morning as I listened to the After 8 Debate and the views of all the listeners, one could easily draw comparison to what was on display last night.

On the one hand, there was a FA Cup 5th Round replay match between Aston Villa and Manchester City, both languishing in the middle of the log and desperately needing a win to inject some confidence in to what has been a mediocre season, and on the other hand a delayed Uefa Champions League Round of 16 match between historical powerhouses of European football Ajax Amsterdam and Inter Milan.

This may be a little far fetched, but this is how I perceive the situation to be. The FA Cup match represented the will of the people/public/civil society, whilst the Champions League game represented the political parties concerned with the municipality.

It was difficult to watch both footy games as they had started at exactly the same time, but through various evenings of channel/eye-training I managed to catch the gist of both games and quickly settled on the FA Cup match. The game had fury and passion expected of such a blue collar cup tie – two-footed lunge tackles, nudges, shirt pulling, a great pace and energy about the game, injuries (real ones, not that hangnail-drama you see in the Spanish and Italian leagues) and of course great goals, with the game going down to the wire. The keenness and desperation of both teams’ players and managers was evident.

On the other hand, the European tie was drab, although being tied 2-2 from the previous leg and victory for either team would mean so much more the English cup game, in terms of money, prestige etc. The game was played at a lacklustre pace, with Inter clearly the dominant force, prying open the Ajax defence on several occasions, but finally settling for a boring 1-0 score line to send them through to the quarters against Villarreal.

In the same way as the FA Cup, the people of the Cape are desperate for a result, urging parties to reach an agreement and coalition rule, wanting to know what the future holds. By listening to the voices and opinions of readers/listeners in the media, one almost gets the sense that they don’t really mind whether the ANC and DA form an alliance, or whether the ID decides to go with the ACDP and DA or shuns them both for an opportunity to rule with the ANC. The parties are like the Champions League game from last night however; stalwarts, powerful, stubborn, but boring and so politically paranoid they border on lethargic when it comes to making decisions – and what ends up as a boring, passionless affair.

Just get it done, the passion from the people is there, now step up to the plate and prove your mettle, damn it.

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