A huge pat on the back

Continual criticism can induce a sense of self-doubt and self-consciousness that can be debilitating.

Much so when the criticism is not tempered with encouragement and recognition of positive actions aimed at redressing the situation.

South Africans can be particularly obsessive with self-criticism - and are wont to succumb to constant despair as though apocalypse was well nigh. Amid pervasive gloom, positive developments tend to be overlooked.

Prompting the topic is two weekend events that should have elicited a massive national outpouring but instead drew a mundane response locally.

These were the opening of Soweto's vastly revamped Orlando Stadium and the 2009 Confederations Cup draw - two milestones that should surely reassure even the most cynical of doubting Thomases that all is set for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup.

If there was further proof to demonstrate Fifa's commitment to its obligation, the giant Orlando showpiece is the most tangible to date - as are other World Cup stadia to be completed soon.

When Orlando Pirates and Thanda Zulu Royal players trotted onto the turf of the new stadium last Saturday, great pride would have welled up the chests of many South Africans.

For this, local soccer and the government deserve a huge pat on the back.