The place the World Cup forgot
World Cup 2010: Mossel Bay
Mossel Bay was the first place that Europeans landed in South Africa - but a sub-standard training pitch ruined the town's hopes of hosting a modern-day World Cup invasion from South America.
Paraguay had agreed to use the attractive coastal town on the Garden Route from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth as their base for the tournament, much to the delight of the local population.
Local hoteliers, tour guides and businesses desperately hoped to capitalise on an estimated 6,000 supporters who were expected to follow in the wake of their team.
The local tourism board created a Spanish version of their website, locals took evening classes to ensure they would be able to communicate and expectations were high that Mossel Bay really would have a significant role to play during the World Cup.
That all changed after a delegation from La Albirroja arrived at the turn of the year for an inspection and left distinctly underwhelmed with both the proposed hotel and training facilities.
The pitch at Extension 23 fields had a camber that exceeded Fifa expectations and it soon became clear that Gerardo Martino's team would move elsewhere. They eventually settled on the Woodridge County Estate in the heart of Kwazulu Natal.
"The impact of Paraguay not coming was massive," local tour operator Jauckie Viljoen told me. "The whole marketing strategy for Mossel Bay during the World Cup was based around having them here and when they pulled out, it was too late to change."
I took a look at the proposed training facility close to the Kwanonqaba township on Sunday morning.
The pitch, encased behind locked gates, looked sad and unwanted, while two local teams contested a match on the pot-marked bumpy surface next door. I looked through the fence and the camber that cost Mossel Bay their World Cup bonanza seemed fairly obvious.
Alas, Viljoen reckons hotel occupancy here is only in the region of 35%, while the banners blowing in Sunday's breeze that proclaimed "Welcome to the world, Mossel Bay 2010" had a hollow ring to them.
It struck me as being a real shame because this is a genuinely scenic place, nestled on the coast with the Outeniqua mountains forming a pleasing backdrop.
But by the waterfront it had the sleepy feel of a seaside town in winter, not the throbbing beat of a place gripped by World Cup fever. "Life live slowly," reads the motto of our hotel. You get the picture.
I took a stroll around the centre of town and hardly saw anyone, except three Israeli tourists wandering around a museum that focuses on Bartolomeu Dias.
It was the Portuguese explorer who first arrived here on 3 February 1488 after doubling the Cape of Good Hope in a vicious storm.
The Portuguese didn't last all that long, with the Dutch eventually becoming the first Europeans to regard South Africa as a place to settle rather than a stop for food and fuel on route to Asia.
The BBC bus passes through Mossel Bay
I am hoping that there will be plenty of Portuguese in Port Elizabeth when the BBC bus rolls into town on Monday ahead of their game against Ivory Coast on Tuesday.
Apart from a puncture to the generator tyre, all is well so far on the bus, which left Cape Town on Saturday and meandered along at its leisurely pace to Cape Agulhas, the most southerly point in Africa.
While there I visited the house where former Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan put the finishing touches to his seminal Wind of Change speech in 1960, which signalled the government's intent to grant independence to several of their African territories.
At a time when much is being made of the significance of a World Cup being staged in Africa, I thought it was important to be reminded how this continent has changed so much in a relatively short space of time.
Whether the tournament has a positive lasting legacy is the subject of debate, but what I can say is that it's not having much impact on poor old Mossel Bay.