THIS was the last thing South Africa ever needed four days before the kick-off of the 2010 World Cup finals.
The stampede at a friendly match between Nigeria and North Korea at the Makhulong Stadium in Ekurhuleni on Sunday was unfortunate.
We understand the high levels of sophistication in organising a soccer match.
As explained by the Fifa World Cup Local Organising Committee, this was a match organised by the two teams outside the control of the world soccer body.
Unfortunately there seems to have been some level of taking things for granted, and not taking full control of the process by the organisers.
At the end of the day fans got hurt, and in the process the whole beautiful game of football suffered.
Indeed this happened at the wrong time, and the wrong place. In another time we would have said this was a storm in a teacup as prophets of doom seek to make a mountain out of a molehill.
As hosts, South Africa has had to deal with a whole lot of pessimism and negativity in the run-up to the World Cup finals.
This is surely a blight on an otherwise splendid job we have done as a country in preparing for the soccer showpiece.
As we lick the wounds following this mishap, we are still resolved to stage an incident-free masterpiece, starting Friday.