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.
TEXT SIZE - +
— 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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid