My final South African sunrise


(Editor’s note: Chris Ziemer, Sonoma Academy athletic director and head girls soccer coach, is blogging for The Press Democrat at the World Cup in South Africa).

July 7, 2010

Final South African sunrise…

I had my final early morning South African sunrise today.  It’s a shame as the weather has been superb in Durban and it’s looking like rain and high winds for tonight’s semifinal.  With both teams focused on trying to play soccer with the ball at their feet, the weather may be a factor.

Dutch in the final…

Holland’s victory means it will be an all European final.  The Dutch appear to be in a groove and whether they play Spain or Germany, it should be a great game.  An open and attacking game with hopefully a few goals.  Hats off to Uruguay, who outlasted all non-European teams, including Argentina and Brazil.  Not bad for a country with approx 3.5 million people.

In the news – a few pieces of news from this morning’s The Mercury paper

The South African paper teamed up with Spain’s El Pais and Germany’s Bild to give readers a page in both German and Spanish as well as the usually English pages.

Paul – the famous octopus in Germany who has been correctly picking all of the game winners – has selected Spain to win.

Stars and royalty arrive in Durban – President Jacob Zuma, Leonardo DiCaprio, Paris Hilton (is she a star?), Charlize Theron, Henry Kissinger and many others  –estimated 11,000 VIPs- in Durban for the game.

I’ve chosen, not to choose…

I came at it from every angle, but can’t decide between Germany and Spain.  I’m unable to choose who I want to win and about 12 hours before kickoff not even prepared to guess who I think will win.  Initially, I felt like Germany was in such great form and couldn’t be beaten, and then I saw the focus of the Spanish players at their hotel.  They are motivated and ready.  Plus, Paul, the Octopus chose Spain.  The idea of a German vs Netherlands final is intriguing, but wouldn’t a Spain vs Netherlands final be quality too?

Germany has won the World Cup several times before, either Spain or Netherlands would mean a first time winner.  I lived in Germany and have family in Germany.  But, Spain, with so many Barca players…you can see my dilemma.  So, I am heading to the stadium with my wife tonight knowing that regardless of the outcome, I will be happy for the winning team and disappointed for the losing team.  I am emotionally invested into both teams, and really just want to see a great game. I am just happy being in the stadium to see the weeks of intense games culminate into what should be a doozy of a semifinal, potentially one for the ages.

Heading back to the U.S. after semifinal game…

It pains me to know I will be leaving South Africa before the GRAND FINALE, but it’s been a good run.  My work here is finished later today and I’m eager to return home to see my daughters Sally and Gabriella, and the rest of the Ziemer family.  Life on the road isn’t all that bad, especially as my wife Renee was able to join me, but life at home is much better.  I look forward to getting back to work at Sonoma Academy, and can’t wait to get back on the field at Sonoma Academy and with Sonoma County Alliance Soccer Club teams.

I will send a final blog from South Africa after the game with some pictures, and I’m sure a few closing blogs from the U.S. when I return.