WC 2003 - WC organisers wary of fans~~ backlash
Published: Wednesday, March 5, 2003, 22:21 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Bacher defends lack of reserve day for preliminary ties
Johannesburg: World Cup organisers are set to spend an uncomfortable two days worrying whether the remainder of their showpiece tournament will be played out in front of half-empty houses.South Africa's stunning exit in the rain of Durban on Monday has led to fears that the Super Sixes, which get underway on Friday, may go mostly unnoticed with fans registering their displeasure with their team's failings by voting with their feet."Everyone is disappointed that South Africa didn't progress to the Super Sixes," said Ali Bacher, executive director of the World Cup."We have shown the rest of the world we have the capability to host a global sporting event of this nature and we need the country to continue supporting in that way they have."I can understand South Africa's supporters' predicament, but we need the country to show how important the event is."The tournament takes a breather on Wednesday and Thursday before the Super Six stage gets underway with a double-header on Friday when defending champion and overwhelming favourite Australia faces Sri Lanka at Centurion and India takes on Kenya in a day-nighter at Newlands in Cape Town.Having carried 12 and 8 points respectively forward from the preliminary round, Australia and India already have taken a huge step towards the semi-finals while the Kenyans, crushed by the West Indies in the last group game, will need the cushion of all of their 10 points in the next stage.Sri Lanka, champions in 1996, carry forward 7.5 points, New Zealand 4 and Zimbabwe 3.5.