What the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup means to South Africans

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What the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup means to South Africans
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2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup has a far greater impact than just; thousands of tourists and plenty of soccer. The influx of visitors can have many consequences for South Africa; good and bad. However, with the amount of planning that has gone into the event, South Africa hopes to counter such effects with various programmes that have been set in motion and set an example for games to come.
It’s not difficult to see the benefits - the tournament means an enormous boost to our economy and is said to produce 500 000 jobs. Grant Thornton stated that the direct expenditure for the event will be R30, 4 billion, and will contribute R51, 1 billion to gross domestic product (GDP). FIFA receives all direct revenue associated with the World Cup (i.e. ticket sales), which means South Africa must prepare itself for maximum revenue possibilities.

The preparation for such a huge event has taken years and is still continuing today. Billions of rands has been spent on improving South Africa infrastructure in order to accommodate over 400 000 tourists.

Infrastructure is divided into two categories: economic (e.g. roads, rail lines, ports, electricity pylons) and social (e.g. hospitals, clinics, schools and sports, recreation centres). South Africa has had to prepare for this international event by creating and improving all areas of transport, renovating and building world-class stadiums, establishing accommodation, improving and enlarging the hospitality industry and much more.

These changes have occurred at a time when people have become more aware of the amount of damage that has been done to our environment. Buyelwa Sonjica, South African Water and Environmental Affairs Minister has said, “FIFA 2010 World Cup will have the largest carbon footprint of any major event with a goal to be climate neutral... This footprint is almost ten times the footprint of the 2006 FIFA World Cup hosted in Germany”. Germany implemented their Green Goal into the 2006 World Cup, and South Africa has decided to continue on with this programme and add to it. Similar eco-friendly plans are in place at the ten hosting stadiums. Johannesburg has set up water-free urinals and low-volume flush toilets while Cape Town has explored obtaining energy from a windfarm.

The Local Organising Committee (LOC) and the South African government want the 2010 Soccer World Cup to become an African event - a World Cup with a lasting legacy for the African continent and its people. This ‘African Legacy’ means that there must be continental integration. Programmes must support, promote and enhance the African Renaissance in order to improve Africa’s global image. Two years ago, then President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, said at a Summit of the African Union Commission that the African Legacy Programme must ensure that “the 2010 Soccer World Cup does indeed make a lasting impact on the continent and leave the peoples of our continent and the Diaspora indeed with a lasting legacy”.

As this is the first time in FIFA’s existence that the event is hosted by an African country, all Africans should feel proud and unite together. South Africans should not only be focusing on the 2010 World Cup’s direct impact, but rather for the lasting effect it will have on our country, and continent, for years to come. Through the event, South Africa will have yet another reason to compete as one of the world’s best tourist destinations. We have the opportunity to promote and build our image worldwide.

In the meantime, all South Africans are being urged to participate in Football Friday. Not sure what this is? If you happen to notice a colleague arrive to work in their football shirt at the end of the week - that’s Football Friday. If you don’t have one or you’re not prone to the team colours, try the ‘Diski Dance' instead.

2010 World Cup Soccer Match Schedules

photograph by: Greg Beadle
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