News / Africa

South Africa Struggles to Maintain World Cup Legacy

Children attend football training at a ground in Alexandra Township, north of Johannesburg on June 30, 2010.  Memories of South Africa 2010 World Cup are fading fast, as its progress  halted by a scandal-ridden period off the field since the historic tournament.
Children attend football training at a ground in Alexandra Township, north of Johannesburg on June 30, 2010. Memories of South Africa 2010 World Cup are fading fast, as its progress halted by a scandal-ridden period off the field since the historic tournament.
When South Africa won its bid to host football's 2010 World Cup it promised its citizens lasting social and economic benefits.  But huge costs associated with the sporting event have been a point of controversy, causing some to question whether it was worth it. 

Everyday after school, about 80 children come to play on a brand new football field in the heart of Hillbrow, one of Johannesburg's most infamous areas.  The court was donated by the Dutch soccer team and the Johan Cruyff foundation during football's 2010 World Cup.  It is one of the most outstanding legacies of the event.  On the wall above the stands is a sign with the rules the children have to follow.  They include respect, fair play and social involvement.

Coach John "Bull" Sibeko says that in addition to providing an outlet for the children, the sport has also changed their behavior - for the better.

"Before I started here, I couldn't believe I would stay for more than a year" said Sibeko. "Because kids were uncontrollable. You could understand the background, from where they were coming from.  High level of vandalism, bullying among themselves.  But now, if we are playing tournaments around, in terms of behavior, in terms of values, in terms of culture, in terms of respect, the group, you couldn't distinguish it," he said.

New and improved sports infrastructure is not the only benefit from the World Cup.  In neighboring Bertrams, an area long plagued by high criminality and poverty, public transportation has improved, explained social worker Phindile Tshabangu.

"That is the new bus system.  People use it now because it is quicker, safer and cheaper," Tshabangu said.

The revamped roads and street lights, new parks and clean streets are all obvious benefits from the World Cup. But the challenge now is to maintain them.  Some benefits have not lasted, Tshabangu said.

"Before, in 2010, the police used to come. You'd find police cars around the area.  But now, no more.  Safety was so good, you could see people leaving at night.  But now, no more. "

FIFA President Sepp Blatter, right , and South African President Jacob Zuma give a press conference in Johannesburg, 12-03-2010.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter, right , and South African President Jacob Zuma give a press conference in Johannesburg, 12-03-2010.

Maintaining the five new stadiums that were built especially for the World Cup is a problem. Most of them struggle to be profitable or even to just pay the maintenance fees.

On the pitch, Brazilian tourist Danilo Camargo poses for a souvenir photo with his girlfriend. The new Green Point stadium in Cape Town has become a landmark of the city, and everyday tourists from all around the world come to visit.  But for Camargo, whose home country Brazil will host the next football World Cup in two years, it is not necessarily an example to follow.

"My opinion is that we should build schools and hospitals, instead of stadiums," he said. "But you know, we are already chosen for the World Cup, so now we have to build."

The total cost of the South Africa World Cup was $3.8 billion, 10 times more than what was originally planned.

Many in South Africa share Danilo's opinion regarding the building of new stadiums, which are seen as extravagances.

The new Cape Town stadium still struggles to host enough events to pay for its colossal maintenance.  Some people are calling for it to be demolished, while others even propose turning it into low-income housing.

Grant Pascoe, counselor in charge of tourism and marketing for the city of Cape Town, does not deny the difficulties the management is facing, but said they work hard to make the stadium profitable.

"We've had a number of events. Obviously not as high as what we would have liked," he said. "We should have prepared better for how the stadium would be used.  However, now we are in the process of doing everything that we need to do. There are some restrictions on us that prohibit us from doing commercial activities at the stadium to pay for itself," Pascoe said.

Despite all the controversy, most South Africans agree that the World Cup did reinforce social cohesion in a country marked by deep racial discrimination.

And the infrastructure should be put to use again next year, as South Africa will host the African Cup of Nations.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: CUSP CONSULTING from: Johannesburg
October 22, 2012 3:12 AM
SA needs deep structural & systemic change: READ: A Convergent Model for Social Cohesion http://wp.me/p2LXv0-i


by: Edwin Kaliku, PhD. from: Albany, New York
October 18, 2012 2:11 PM
South Africa should market the sports Stadium to the highest bidder. The sports ground should be contracted to the highest bidder and the proceeds from it should be used to maintain the stadium, pay th eoriginal cost and for the common person sustainance.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid