“Just imagine this: One minute you are at the stadium watching Ronaldhino doing his tricks with the ball. Before you know it, you are watching a different game - the Big Five (lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo and rhino) showing off their muscles in a nature reserve. And when the sun sets, you go back to a luxury hotel with modern technology.” Danny Jordaan, head of the Local Organising Committee for the 2010 World Cup, told Vuk’uzenzele these are just a few of the special things that overseas visitors to the 2010 World Cup can see in South Africa. Apart from the soccer, the wildlife and the beautiful scenery, they will be surprised to see how rich the country is in tradition, history and modern technology.
- ‘African World Cup’
This will be a World Cup like no other. “It’s like having everything that exists on earth in one place,” Jordaan said. He spoke of the first FIFA World Cup to be held in Africa. This ‘African World Cup’ will be very different from the ones held in Europe, he said. “In European countries, they have problems like soccer racism, fighting among supporters and damaging of stadiums. In South Africa, people who support different sides enjoy the game together.”
“We have a budget of R3,4 billion for this event,” Jordaan said. “Preparations are well on track and FIFA is happy that many of their expectations have been met well before time.” The biggest challenge is building five new stadiums to be ready by 2010. He said all the necessary steps are in place. For instance, planning of roads leading to the stadiums, is also on track. A Host City Forum has been started. This means the Local Organising Committee meets once a month with the host cities to talk about how their plans are going.
Jordaan said soccer legends like Abedi Pele of Ghana, Kalusha Byala of Zambia, George Weah of Liberia and Hossam Hassan of Egypt were appointed to work with the Local Organising Committee. They will tell people in other African countries about the World Cup and how they can get involved.
South African soccer greats like Jomo Sono, Lucas Radebe and Mark Fish are also working with the Local Organising Committee.
Jordaan said a lot of people will benefit from this tournament. After the World Cup, South Africa will have changed for the better. We will have at least five world-class stadiums and some good roads that we did not have before. In the past, good facilities were only built for rugby and cricket, he said.
Jordaan said the training venues that will be upgraded in townships and other areas around the cities, would also help to make young people more interested in soccer.
When the World Cup in Germany is over, the world will focus on South Africa.
And as we are moving faster towards the big day, what could be the biggest challenge? “Bafana Bafana,” he said. “We want a team that will be able to compete and go a long way into the tournament.” - Ndivhuwo Khangale