World Cup singer dies at 34

Opera tenor Siphiwo Ntshebe, who had been asked by Nelson Mandela to sing at the opening of the World Cup has died at age 34 of bacterial meningitis.

Ntshebe had been asked by the Nobel Peace Prize winner to sing a song called ”Hope” at the June 11 opening ceremony of the World Cup in Johannesburg.

He was preparing for rehearsals when he contracted meningitis and was admitted to Livingstone Hospital in his hometown of Port Elizabeth, where he died.

”This is such a sad, tragic story,” said Sony Music Entertainment chief executive officer Keith Lister, according to the Sapa news agency.

“Within days of realising his dreams he was struck down like this. It is a great loss. For someone who has worked as hard as he has, who has trained, and then to have it taken away right at the moment of the acknowledgement of his talent and success...”

Ntshebe had just finished recording an album containing a spoken message from Mandela. He had signed a multi-album deal with Epic.

The “Hope” track has already been included on the official World Cup album, set for worldwide release.

Siphiwo is a true South Africa World Cup legacy, gone too soon. May his spirit lead us to 11th June 2010.
May his soul rest in peace and may Siphiwo‘s spirit of hope centre us all,” said Lebo M, producer of the World Cup opening ceremony.
. The Official Website of Siphiwo Ntshebe.

Top 10 players that may miss out on World Cup 2010

The squads for the teams involved in the World Cup have now been announced and there are some notable absentees. Here is my top 10 picks of players that should have made it to World Cup 2010 but somehow failed to.

No 10. Rio Ferdinand
England have confirmed that their captain Rio Ferdinand is out of the World Cup with a knee injury and Tottenham Hotspur's Michael Dawson has been called up as a replacement

No 9. Alexandre Pato
The Brazilian striker narrowly misses out on Dunga’s 23 man team after failing to rediscover his fine early season form for AC Milan. Quick and incisive, the diminutive forward would have hoped to go to the World Cup 2010 and make a name for himself just like another young Brazilian compatriot, Ronaldo, did 8 years ago. With age on his side, waiting another 4 years will be scant consolation for Pato.
No 8. Adriano
Another Brazilian striker to have faced the chop. Adriano is in the mould of a big burly target man and it wasn’t too long ago that he was terrorizing defences in Italy’s Serie A. Unfortunately, he seems to have suffered emotional setbacks and has lost interest in the game. A transfer to the less demanding Brazilian league has also not worked out for him. I guess he will not be feeling too sad at missing out on World Cup 2010 then.

No 7. Alessandro Del Piero

The little Italian has graced countless major tournaments for the Azzuri. However, he seems to only perform at club level for Juventus and has never really set the world stage alight. He will not get another chance now, as the Italians have lost patience with their maestro.
No 6. Michael Ballack

The German captain got injured in the FA cup final for Chelsea and has been ruled out of World Cup 2010. Despite not being as influential as he once was, Ballack has enormous fighting spirit and tones of experience that would have served Germany well.

No 5. Ruud Van Nistlerooy
The Dutch scoring legend was a surprise omission from Holland’s World Cup team. With 33 goals in 64 international appearances, his knack of finding the net will be sorely missed at World Cup 2010. Not to worry, Dutch fans will be treated to the comparable finishing ability of Liverpool’s Dirk Kuyt, oh, wait a minute…

No 4. Michael Owen

After bursting onto the World Cup scene 12 years ago with a fine solo effort against Argentina, Owen has struggled with an abundance of hamstring problems. Now a lot older, and slower, Owen will still be missed due to his boyish good looks and England's lack of a prolific strike partner to Wayne Rooney.

No 3. David Beckham

The poster boy of world football is injured and misses what is his final chance at a World Cup appearance. Despite retaining his good looks, his skill levels have gone downhill with age. That will hardly stop female fans asking “Where’s Beckham” in June though.

No 2. Francesco Totti

Roma fans adore their captain and for good reason. When he plays, they win. Too bad his ego is as inflated as all the balloons you will see at World Cup 2010. The tournament will not be graced by his leadership qualities nor his thunderous long range shooting. Italy’s coach Marcelo Lippi obviously thinks these are small sacrifices in comparison to squeezing his big head on the plane to South Africa.

No 1. Ronaldinho
Still only 30, the former World player of the year is a massive talent. Too bad that in recent times he tends to prefer the ladies to showcasing his skills with a football. Very sad news too for fans around the world because; if he was up to it he could have dazzled World Cup 2010.