The Paraguayans are coming!

2010-02-08 00:00

FROM procuring Spanish language tapes to researching Paraguayan cuisine and preparing for a “cook- out” headed up by Team Paraguay’s chef, Woodridge Country Estate in Balgowan in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands is gearing up for a South American invasion this year.

Alistair McGlashan, the owner of Woodridge Country Estate, told The Witness that the next big move is a visit to Woodridge by Paraguayan representatives later this month.

Woodridge will host the Paraguayan National Team and accompanying representatives from May 29 until July 13 for the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup.

The Local Organising Committee (LOC), which has a contract with Michaelhouse to use its fields for training, will foot the bill for the upgrades to the fields at the school, McGlashan explained.

Woodridge is also set to sign a “consumables contract” in late February that will see the estate supplying the team with food, beverages and other products.

“The majority of Team Paraguay will only speak Spanish. We have already acquired language tapes and books, and all staff members will have a rudimentary understanding of the basics of Spanish when Team Paraguay arrives. We have also been approached by many people from the area offering their Spanish linguistic skills. We will be appointing hostesses who can speak Spanish to assist with service delivery. The Premiers Office 2010 co-coordinator has also committed to seeking assistance from the Department of Education, which will hold language courses for potential 2010 guides,” explained McGlashan.

He said they will gain more clarity on the cuisine requirements and tastes when the Team Paraguay chef and other representatives visit Woodridge later this month for the cookout.

“Sue, my wife, manages and controls all food served by Woodridge. Spanish recipe books have been acquired. ABI [Amalgamated Beverage Industries] is supplying us with the details of the products which they will be stocking on site, the contents of which will be checked and verified by the Team Paraguay doctors, before making their final selection of energy drinks to be held on site. Paraguay … eat a lot of kid [goat] and lamb meat, and get their beef from Argentina.”

The deal did not materialise “overnight” and McGlashan believes that their efforts, as well as the Woodridge-Michaelhouse combination, were of vital importance.

Although hosting a national team for the Soccer World Cup is certainly a glamorous affair, McGlashan — who is an entrepreneur and high-level strategic business consultant — stressed that it is not as lucrative as many people believe.

“No upfront deposits are received by the hotel for accommodation. The normal [accommodation] rate has also been discounted and is only a rate per suite, not per person, and some rooms will be doubled up. We also have to spend money upgrading some facilities such as old televisions to flat screens. We are not going to become multimillionaires as a result of the Team Paraguay visit, that is for sure.”

The McGlashans bought Woodridge in 1999 and have since bonded with the midlands area and its people.

McGlashan is optimistic that the deal will ignite a host of opportunities for the midlands and its people.

“Having a business in the area, we were very aware of the poverty and need for job creation. We hope that some form of legacy will be left behind for local talented soccer players identified by the [Paraguayan] team, for example an exchange programme. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be closely involved in one of the largest world events. We have already met so many interesting people and had many experiences we would never have had, had it not been for the fact that we applied to be a team home-base camp with Michaelhouse. The real benefit to us will probably be market exposure, and, hopefully, return visits from people who would like to experience what the midlands has to offer.”


Please. Por favor.

Thank you. Gracias.

You’re welcome. De nada.

Sorry. Disculpe.

Excuse me. Perdón.

Good morning. Buenos días.

Good afternoon. Buenas tardes.

Good evening. Buenas noches.

Hello. Hola.

Goodbye. Adios.

See you later. Hasta luego.


Location: South America (centrally located within the continent, northeast of Argentina)

Size (area): About one-third of the size of South Africa

Population: About seven million

Capital: Asuncion

Official Languages: Spanish and Guarani

Economy: Market economy with a large informal sector; agriculture

Unemployment: 7,9% (2009 estimate)

Currency: The Guarani

— The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) World Factbook.


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