Bornstein impressed with 2010 World Cup infrastructure

The US int'l is excited to partake in S. Africa's celebration

CARSON, Calif. -- South Africa has come a long way since last summer.

Much of the press in the months leading up to this year’s FIFA World Cup revolved around the preparedness—or lack thereof—of The Rainbow Nation for the globe’s biggest sporting event.

During the FIFA Confederations Cup in June of 2009, many reports pointed out South Africa’s lack of infrastructure for the tournament, and suggested that the country wasn’t ready for 2010.

Now, 12 months later, the World Cup is a week old and, with the exception of a few minor hitches, things have been running smoothly.

“My overall feeling is very positive,” said Chivas USA and US National Team defender Jonathan Bornstein in an interview on Thursday. “From everything about the Confederations Cup, I remember there still being a lot of preparing that they had to do to get ready for the World Cup. Now, I’m really impressed with how well they’ve been able to get everything together.”

Bornstein and his USMNT teammates started their 2010 World Cup campaign against England last Saturday at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenberg. The team had played in the stadium once before, earning the 3-0 victory over Egypt in the 2009 Confederations Cup that sent them through to the tournament’s semifinals.


“From playing in Rustenberg the first time in Confederations Cup to now, I think they’ve improved the stadium quite a bit,” said Bornstein. “The pitch was phenomenal, the locker rooms were done up and, overall, the whole appearance was great.”

The US’ second match, against European minnows Slovenia, will be played on Friday at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, the site of the team’s 3-2 defeat to Brazil last summer in the Confederations Cup final.

“When we were here [at Ellis Park] in 2007 we had a different locker room because these weren’t done yet,” said Bornstein. “We trained there today and the locker room was really nice. All the stadiums are really nice.”

Beyond the stadiums themselves, Bornstein has been impressed with South Africa’s effort across the board.

“Just driving down the street you’ve always got people blowing the vuvuzelas and cheering, and soccer is on TV all day every day, talking about the World Cup,” he said. “It’s really exciting to be a part of that.”

<p><em><strong>Join the Debate!'s "<a href=";id=6048" target="_blank">ExtraTime Radio</a></strong><strong>" is LIVE every day during the World Cup, 5-7 pm ET. Call in at 888-MLS-GOAL.</strong></em></p>