Sports Now

Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond

« Previous Post | Sports Now Home | Next Post »

World Cup: Obama welcome in South Africa

June 14, 2010 | 10:24 am

President Barack Obama's popularity may have slipped some in the U.S. but not in South Africa.

When a group of reporters visited a market and museum in the sprawling Soweto township Monday, the first question many people asked was "Where are you from?"  When the reporters answered "America," they were greeted with smiles, handshakes and responses such as "Obama, yes we can!"

One museum docent continually referred to the group as "the Obamas." Although South African security personnel have talked openly about how they hope the U.S. team exits the tournament before the U.S. president has a chance to visit, that's not the view of the people in Soweto.

"Oh, he is very popular here," the museum worker said.

Meanwhile in another part of the township, Kenneth Nephawe, a traditional healer, said he has divined that the U.S. will advance out of pool play, although he wouldn't say how much further it would go.

"They have to change their midfield," he warned. "They're lazy."

-- Kevin Baxter in Soweto, South Africa