Tuesday, December 6, 2022

South Africa, SADC in last push for 2010 World Cup

“South Africa is ready, except Bafana Bafana’, this is a South African newspaper headline that sums up the readiness of Botswana’s neighbour to host the first FIFA World Cup on the African soil.

The other part of the headline does not matter much as FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke points out that the winner will be football when the last whistle is blown in July.

So it does not matter much, apart from South Africans, if the host nation wins or not.

If the assurance from FIFA that there is no Plan B for the 2010 FIFA World Cup is to be believed, then a number of journalists who attended this year’s Indaba are convinced that South Africa is ready to host the biggest event on the footballing calendar.

“There was never a single time when FIFA thought of moving this World Cup. It has never happened even on concerns of security and readiness,” Valcke told a gathering of journalists at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

“There has never been any Plan B.”

Ever since, 2004, after South Africa was chosen as the hosts of 2010 FIFA World Cup, there has been persistent media spotlight on the hosts.

The media focused on concerns over security where everyday there are cases of murder, robberies and travelers losing valuable items at OR Tambo, the popular transit airport in Africa.

Danny Jordaan, the man responsible for organising the World Cup in South Africa, denies that the Organising Committee has been defensive of events in South Africa that could have robbed the country and continent of the soccer event.

“We have been engaging the media and we have been as transparent as possible,” he said.

Jordaan said the media has had interest since 2004, unlike other previous hosts like the U.S, where the media only came closer to the kick off.

“Maybe it was the issue of Plan B. I think, we are in a comfortable position, but we have systems in place to deal with the situations as they arise,” said Jordaan.

The South African government, which has invested heavily on infrastructure to make the occasion a success, is happy with the progress so far.

“I am sure that many of you have experienced the efficiency and excellence of these new institutions,” Jacob Zuma, the South Africa’s President, said at the opening of Indaba 2010.

“You would have noticed also that the stadiums are ready; the host cities are ready. South Africa is ready.”

The road to June 11, 2010, all started in 2004 in Zurich when Sepp Blater declared South Africa the winners of the rights to stage the event.

South Africa previously bid for the 2006 World Cup but controversially lost to German. South Africa was in a pole position to win the bid but New Zealander Charles Dempsy abstained from voting despite agreement for him to vote for South Africa. Germany ended up beating South Africa by a single vote and the anticipated tier was going to be broken by FIFA President Sepp Blatter who promised to give it to South Africa.

South Africa has spent US$ 9.6 billion to change the road infrastructure. Zuma revealed that 52 football pitches have been planned in communities across South Africa as well as another 52 across the African continent.

Already, 44 stadiums have been constructed around Africa while another nine have been completed in South Africa.

Meanwhile, Bheki Xele, South Africa’s top cop said the security is ready to deal with crime and revealed they have set up a special unit with the South African Police that will deal with soccer hooligans.

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