â†µThe Colombian national team didn't qualify for this year's World Cup, but were still able to travel to South Africa this week to take part in a friendly at Soccer City in Johannesburg against the South Africa team before the tournament got underway. That they ended up losing the exhibition 2-1 isn't any great shakes, but the fact that the team was robbed one day after being in the country, while staying at a five-star hotel, likely won't do much to allay the ample security concerns visitors will have as the Cup approaches. â†µâ†µ
â†µThe fact that the alleged robbery was carried out by two female workers at the hotel could allow local officials to claim that at least security is tight enough to stop any outside incursions. That is, if only the Egyptian team weren't also robbed of about $3,000 at their hotel while visiting for the Confederations Cup last year. Also troubling is the fact that one of the accused women already has a theft case pending against her from the hotel, while the other had an outstanding warrant for her arrest. So, while it was technically an inside job, the hotel had plenty of red flags to tip them off. â†µâ†µ
â†µâ‡¥The women are alleged to have stolen the cash from suitcases belonging to the Colombian team. It has not been established where the players were at the time of the alleged theft or how the women came to be arrested. â†µâ‡¥â†µ
â†µâ‡¥The Times understands that the management of the Hyde Park hotel allegedly asked the police to keep the incident quiet, fearing bad publicity and cancellations before the World Cup. â†µâ‡¥â†µâ‡¥
â†µâ‡¥It is understood that, though the hotel wanted the women to be fired quietly, the police insisted on arresting them following complaints from the Colombian team. â†µâ‡¥â†µ
â†µI suppose it's a good thing that the police aren't caving to local pressure from businesses to sweep crime under the rug, just to keep the country's image rosy as this incredibly important sporting event is about to get underway. But then again, it's another last-minute reminder that protective measures need to be ramped up even further if such actions aren't already being taken. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.