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How important is the World Cup for Africa?

11:48 UK time, Thursday, 10 June 2010

The 2010 World Cup has opened in South Africa. What will the world's biggest football tournament bring to the continent?

Thousands of fans gathered for the launch at Johannesburg's 94,000-capacity Soccer City and saw the first match between the host country and Mexico end in a 1-1 draw.

As well as a sporting tournament, the World Cup hopes to give the continent a chance to present a more positive image to the world. Vast amounts of money have been spent on constructing new stadiums and improving infrastructure in a bid to attract sports fans.

What impact will the World Cup have on Africa? Will ordinary Africans benefit? Are you based in the region? Will you be watching the matches? How will you celebrate?

BBC Newsnight is looking for a vuvuzela player to appear on the programme. Are you in or near London? Please send your contact details to ugchub@bbc.co.uk

BBC Sport 2010 World Cup site

Read World Cup expectations from around the globe

How are you celebrating the World Cup?

This debate has now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    Africa is a crime ridden, drug infested, poverty stricken continent, no more so than South Africa, where the end of apartheid has simply increased the misery of the nations peoples'. There are many reasons for why this has happened such as corruption, incompetence and greed of the ever bickering tribal parties. South Africa, as most African nations are rich is resources, yet their corrupt Governments allow greedy western and asian companies to exploit the resources at the nations' expense. The world cup will give the peoples' a brief glimmer of the good life, after which it's back to normal. Nelson Mandela should be assumed of what has happened to the African people, after he promised so much.

  • Comment number 2.

    Only South Africa can answer this question - I hope they get what they hope for and more. To stage this world class event must have cost a fortune and I just pray it goes smoothly and without violence.

    I have relatives who live in SA and they inform me that tickets are far too expensive and that unrest is already rearing its ugly head over seat availability. They intend to watch from their TV rather than run the risk of getting involved in civil disturbance. They did mention that although they could buy flags for most of the other nations they couldn't find our standard anywhere. Have we missed an opportunity?

  • Comment number 3.

    I will be surprised if it concludes without any major hitches or disaster/s.

  • Comment number 4.

    I would hope it benefits the entire country and indeed the continent, although there are already signs that the only people to benefit will be big business as is usually the case.

    We can only hope there are no repeats of last weeks riots to get into a game or even worse violence in the cities.

  • Comment number 5.

    I suppose it will do wonders for the South African economy in the short term, but will they be left with massive stadiums they can't fill once the tournament ends? Infrastructure improvements can never be a bad thing - making transporting goods and people around is always good for the economy in the longer term (our government should be thinking along similar lines, alas we have Philip Hammond as Transport Secretary...)

    I'm sure I'll end up watching a few of the matches as they'll be unavoidable down the pub. It won't be quite as exciting as watching rugby. but I'll make do.

  • Comment number 6.

    For South Africa, and by extension, Africa as a whole, the World Cup is of paramount importance. It'll be the first time that an African nation has hosted the tournament and for some Africans, football is their only sense of the world outside of their country and their continent. Football is a global sport that brings people together from all corners of the world. Therefore the tournament will put South Africa in the spotlight and allow the Rainbow nation to show off its stadia and show just how far the country has come. Hopefully this will help change many people's stereotyped views of Africans. However, being in the spotlight will also allow the rest of the world to scrutinise South Africa - security and possible violence during the tournament will be an issue. Will the infrastructure be able to handle all the people visiting the country for the matches? So South Africa will be under pressure to get everything right. As for ordinary South Africans, I imagine they'll feel a great sense of patriotism, and the country will no doubt benefit from increased tourism, but the long-term benefits remain to be seen. Will the stadia and infrastructure be put to good use once the tournament is over? How much of a financial drain will hosting the World Cup be? Will the boom be followed by a bust? So hosting the World Cup can be something of a mixed blessing.

  • Comment number 7.

    "Very " If it all goes' {very well} which I hope. This will be a big boost for South Africa, in the worlds eyes ,and will help all of Africa in the long term. I will be watching every game, with intrest and Hope The South Africa team leads the way to the final. Best of luck to all the African teams and the rest of the World.

  • Comment number 8.

    Well, naturally it will depend on how it all goes off, and how it is all presented. If the experiences of those attending are good, then it will have a positive effect. If, on the other hand, the bad side of SA peeks through and affects those attending (muggings, shootings, diseases etc) then it will be disastrous. Although I have a negative interest in the football itself (paint drying etc), I will be very interested to see how it goes from the wider perspective.

    Alan T

  • Comment number 9.

    "What impact will the World Cup have on Africa? Will ordinary Africans benefit?"
    Little, they will benefit from some positive publicity for a month but this will be tempered by the 'MURDER CAPITAL OF THE WORLD', 'Vice girls in J'berg' pieces run on the TV.

    "Are you based in the region?"
    No.

    "Will you be watching the matches? How will you celebrate?"
    Yes, I'll be pleased when or if England win matches (and when Argentina/Germany/Brazil don't) - where the tounament is is of little importance most stadia are pretty similar on the TV.

  • Comment number 10.

    If South Africa makes as much as FIFA has, it'll be Ferguson-sized luck.

  • Comment number 11.

    ....................and when it is all over, will anyone really care?

  • Comment number 12.

    It would be a lot better if FIFA did not make such massive profits that are repatriated rather than ploughed into the Southern African economies.

    The Olympics and Football World Cup are both a waste of taxpayers money that see all the financial rewards accrue to the few. Formula One motor racing is little different and the Rugby World Cup the same.

    Cape Town now has a stadium that will not be used on a regular basis as a sports venue because FIFA could not do a deal with the South African Rugby owned Newlands stadium and agree to re-develop that for use by various sports. So a city that people know for the beauty of Table Mountain spend a small fortune on a white elephant, while places like Guguletu, Crossroads and Langa remain shack communities.

    Royal Bafokeng is in the middle of nowhere, has nothing worthwhile to see nearby and is in competition with Sun City. It will be a white elephant and the hotel will only survive by being propped up.

    Taken in isolation, the World Cup is a fantastic opportunity to showcase South Africa, but the real financial benefit goes to others and the real financial cost is bourne by the South African taxpayer, when most of its citizens cannot even afford to take in a game live.

  • Comment number 13.

    I am shocked that Africa got the world cup, I mean how did they afford to build the facilities when great swathes of the population are starving? Of course the world cup is good for Africa, it will bring in money & give the criminals rich pickings. Sadly the people who really need the help STILL won't receive it, only big business will benefit as usual.

  • Comment number 14.

    1. At 12:18pm on 10 Jun 2010, Toad In The Hole wrote:

    Africa is a crime ridden, drug infested, poverty stricken continent, no more so than South Africa, where the end of apartheid has simply increased the misery of the nations peoples'. There are many reasons for why this has happened such as corruption, incompetence and greed of the ever bickering tribal parties. South Africa, as most African nations are rich is resources, yet their corrupt Governments allow greedy western and asian companies to exploit the resources at the nations' expense. The world cup will give the peoples' a brief glimmer of the good life, after which it's back to normal. Nelson Mandela should be assumed of what has happened to the African people, after he promised so much.

    =============================================================

    Another one that believes what the media say rather than finding out the truth.

    No country or continent is perfect. Africa was raped by Portugal, Germany, France and Britain and never put anywhere near as much back into their colonis as they took out, drew up maps in far away continents that did not take into account local realities. The list is endless.

    Your opening comment can apply to a number of places I have been through in the United Kingdom and likewise the USA.

    If you want to make a comment, make it specific rather than relying on what some media outlet has reported as fact.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    I live in South Africa, about 30 kms South of Durban. My initial support will ofcourse be for our South African team Bafana Bafana [The Boys] but if the team fails to get into the second round, then i will be supporting England. I do not have tickets for any of the games but as a retired pensioner, i will have all the time in the world to follow all of the matches on television. The hosting of the games will be good for the continent of Africa and particularly for South Africa. Our image worldwide in recent years has been fairly negative because of our horrific crime, rape and xenephobic crimes, but the preparation for the world cup appears to have alleviated those crimes and hopefully that will continue post world cup. I am positive that the soccer visitors will be safe from crime and terrorism during the world cup. The worst that can happen is that people will be deafened by the annoying irritating unmusical vuvuzelas, that most South Africans will be blasting away in your ears at every game. Unfortunately therefore, we will not be hearing the wonderful songs normally sung by paricularly English fans, at any of the matches. WELCOME TO SOUTH AFRICA. HAVE A GREAT TIME. WEAR YOUR EAR PLUGS BECAUSE YOU WILL DEFINITELY NEED THEM.

  • Comment number 17.

    The "fat guys" will get fatter, the poor guys might have a reason to cheer for a few weeks. Then back to the norm.
    I do not but into the logic that showpiece sporting events etc have a deep and lasting impact by way of changing societies.

  • Comment number 18.

    "What impact will the World Cup have on Africa?"

    A detrimental one. The emerging middle class will consolidate their position while the poorest have been losing their livelihoods, even their homes.

    "Will ordinary Africans benefit?"

    NO. FIFA and the official sponsors have gone to extraordinary lengths to prevent that. They know that there's less money to be made out of this world cup than there was 4 years ago in Germany and it's critical for Sepp Blatter personally to give the official sponsors the maximum return as he gears up for a re-election bid.

    "Will you be watching the matches?"

    NO.

    "How will you celebrate?"

    Celebrate? You have to be kidding. I'm joining the boycotts to show solidarity with the working class South Africans who were sold a lie.

  • Comment number 19.

    It could have been fantastic for South Africa.

    Unfortunately, according to reports I have seen, FIFA are slapping injunctions on any local who tries to pofit from the event.

    They've effectively stopped South African entrepreneurs and manufacturers from making their own commemorative merchandise and outsourced all the merchandising work to China.

    So i wouldn't be suprised if there is actually some bad feeling towards the event itself.

  • Comment number 20.

    Toad In The Hole
    Africa is a crime ridden, drug infested, poverty stricken continent...


    If ignorance is bliss you must be the happiest person in the world !

  • Comment number 21.

    yes, yes! it is important..this is Africa, it is a continent and a part of the world like other places where world cup has been occurred. But the other important thing is that, its the first time so we need a very good preparation and create a good image that we also can do it. we shall get a lot and experience a lot because apart from football we shall experience many things, traditionally, economically and technologically

  • Comment number 22.

    What impact will the World Cup have on Africa? It will be a uniting force in SA and Africa as a whole. Externally it will hopefully make Afro-pessimists reconsider their viewpoints.
    Will ordinary Africans benefit? Not directly - FIFA made sure of that. Most of the money will go to them and their corporate partners. In the long term we will all benefit from the changed perception people will get of the "dark continent"
    Are you based in the region? Yes. Born and bred
    Will you be watching the matches? I have tickets for one match which I will be attending with my wife. I will watch as many of the other matches as my work will allow.
    How will you celebrate? I want to absorb as much as I can. I plan to spend as much time as possible at the public viewing areas and street parties.

  • Comment number 23.

    I hope crime rates in South Africa will decrease during the world cup term. It might be the most beneficial factor to Africans.

  • Comment number 24.

    I am the last person to be interested in football, however I understand it's enormous impact and importance in developing countries for getting different people together and for African countries to gain more self respect and esteem.

    The game needs the least capital expenditure on a personal basis, it's only when building stadiums the cost is greater; and there are ways of minimising costs of construction.

    At least if roads and infrastructure are built they are there for all to use if sufficient thought about this is put in. Lastly it enhances in Africa's case the outside world's knowledge of the countries

  • Comment number 25.

    When South Africa bid for the FIFA World Cup, she did so with the intention of creating a lasting legacy for not just South Africa, but to the best of her ability - all Africa. I liked this notion from the start. So I tried to keep an eye on her.
    To counteract the lack of playing facilities in what used to be apartheid areas, the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee (OC) built one football turf in each of the 52 South African Football Association regions; this is to ensure that all South Africans have the facilities to participate. @ R85 million was allocated to the project by the National Lottery.
    South Africa is training staff in maintenance of the turfs across Africa (not just Soith Africa). The first formal maintenance workshop with participants from various African countries will take place in Johannesburg in September, 2010.
    Of the 52 turfs, 44 are completed and 15 of them have already been used for 2010 qualifier matches.
    In addition, South Africa has a goal of 20 centres of education, public health and football across Africa. Five of these centres will be constructed in South Africa and the first of the 20 is being built in the township of Khayelitsha in Cape Town. Five other centres are under construction - Rwanda, Ghana, Mali, Kenya and Namibia. The centre in Khayelitsha will help to educate young persons about HIV and Aids.
    South Africa is even trying to make Fifa accessible: 120,000 complimentary tickets will be awarded to residents of South Africa by FIFA. The aim of the Ticket Fund is obvious, but tickets sre not just handed out; they are awarded in particular to South African youth participating in, or contributing to social and human development activities.
    I don't pretend to know all that has been done, but I believe I can state: The world cup has been very important for Africa, including South Africa; and South Africa has tried to take advantage of every possibility to make the future brighter for all of Africa.

  • Comment number 26.

    1. At 12:18pm on 10 Jun 2010, Toad In The Hole wrote:

    Africa is a crime ridden, drug infested, poverty stricken continent, no more so than South Africa, where the end of apartheid has simply increased the misery of the nations peoples'. There are many reasons for why this has happened such as corruption, incompetence and greed of the ever bickering tribal parties. South Africa, as most African nations are rich is resources, yet their corrupt Governments allow greedy western and asian companies to exploit the resources at the nations' expense. The world cup will give the peoples' a brief glimmer of the good life, after which it's back to normal. Nelson Mandela should be assumed of what has happened to the African people, after he promised so much.


    Obviously haven't spent much time in any African country. Having spent may years living in countries in Africa, I recognise you view as that of the much of the media in the UK. The reality is far more interesting.

  • Comment number 27.

    South Africa is well developed country and it will definitely benefit from the tourism and visitors to the world cup, unfortunately it will have to clamp down on crimes that have gone unchallenged by the Black Majority rule. The tribal social circles are tolerant towards crimes committed on other people, it is just not poverty alone, it is the culture of not working for something and grabbing it with force and violence, you can see it in Zimbabwe and slowly such attitudes are prevalent in South Africa. Everyone would like to own trees that are bearing fruits, but there are only a few who will plant and nurture them from a seed or sapling. If any African country wins the World cup then it will show that all people are born equal, some rise above the other via hard work, self motivation and dedication.

  • Comment number 28.

    Isn't it the football played rather than the venue that matters?

  • Comment number 29.

    23. At 2:29pm on 10 Jun 2010, yourfriendjapan wrote:
    I hope crime rates in South Africa will decrease during the world cup term. It might be the most beneficial factor to Africans.

    ----

    It would be nice.

    But the high crime rate really only applies to specific ghettoised areas on the outskirts of the major cities.

    Many of these areas have big problems with alcohol & drug addiction - there's no magic bullet that is going to suddenly imperove their circumstances.

    What they really need is better access to education and employment opportunities and even then it will take years before any major improvement.

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.

    It is clear that hosting the 2010 World Cup is proud of South Africa as well as African continent, however, some wonder whether it will host the event successfully.

    South Africa has high crime record, poverty and racial problems, therefore, it is difficult to deal with these issues.

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    "
    14. At 1:23pm on 10 Jun 2010, Sat_tire wrote:

    If you want to make a comment, make it specific rather than relying on what some media outlet has reported as fact.
    "

    My comments are indeed based on facts, if the UN & many charities are to believed that is. But according to you Africa does *not* have major problems with crime, drugs, disease, corruption & poverty. Still, keep your head in the sand and I'm sure the problems go away.....

  • Comment number 34.

    I'm a football fan and don't really care where the competition is held.

    The good thing is that SA is only 1 hour ahead so there won't be any staying up really late or getting up very early to catch the matches.

    If managed correctly I suppose it could be good for South Africa - lets just hope security is sufficient for the players, coaching teams, supporters and anybody else who is out there.

    My friend used to live there and she said its not a safe place at all.



  • Comment number 35.

    I suspect that, as in all these vastly expensive world show events, once the final whisle has been blown there will be nothing left but memories and litter.

  • Comment number 36.

    The world cup in Africa for the first time means everything to Africa and the world at large.
    People around the world will get a change to see what africa is all about, its going to open up every single door that has been closed for a very long time world over. And its a chance for Africans to showcase to the world all that we have, most important of all our cultures and traditions, the diversity of the continent.
    I am definitely gonna miss this rare opportunity to be home for this memorable event. But I am with all my brothers and sisters in spirit and my support to all those who will make this tournament one to remember.

  • Comment number 37.

    "Isn't it the football played rather than the venue that matters?"

    I think the article is suggesting can this massive global event bring a positive legacy to the nation and African people in general.

    Lets just hope its a feast of football full of great games and goals (with England winning ofcourse) rather than left talking about the bad side of football - cheating in various ways and crowd trouble.

    Wish the locals well and hope they do get a chance to enjoy the tournament and it can help them grow and bring people together much liek the Rugby World Cup in 1995 did?

  • Comment number 38.

    33. At 4:34pm on 10 Jun 2010, Toad In The Hole wrote:

    My comments are indeed based on facts, if the UN & many charities are to believed that is. But according to you Africa does *not* have major problems with crime, drugs, disease, corruption & poverty. Still, keep your head in the sand and I'm sure the problems go away.....

    ============================================================

    Africa, along with all other continents have problems with crime, drugs, corruption and disease. The fact the life expectency in Carlton in Glasgow is 45 for a male is testimony to this.

    Problems go away by confronting them and if we take take HIV/Aids as a very simple example, the millions that are spent on sexual education and awareness is effectively spoilt when the head of some religious sect, who started his life in the Nazi Boy Brigade and has been latterly covering up serious cases of paedophilia in his sect, refuses to endorse the use of condoms.

    There is no such thing as a simple solution to a major problem and I am not sticking my head in the sand, just like if this was 1944 I would not have classified every German as a Jew Hating Nazi. So by consequence you cannot say that the entire continent of Africa is some waste land.

    A typical African may not have much in life, but what they do have they look after and cherish and above all given the opportunity to work, they work hard and to the best of their ability.

    I can be accused of sticking my head in the sand, I don't care because I am not and I would rather have this label than be ignorant.


  • Comment number 39.

    1. At 12:18pm on 10 Jun 2010, Toad In The Hole wrote:

    Africa is a crime ridden, drug infested, poverty stricken continent, no more so than South Africa, where the end of apartheid has simply increased the misery of the nations peoples'. There are many reasons for why this has happened such as corruption, incompetence and greed of the ever bickering tribal parties. South Africa, as most African nations are rich is resources, yet their corrupt Governments allow greedy western and asian companies to exploit the resources at the nations' expense. The world cup will give the peoples' a brief glimmer of the good life, after which it's back to normal. Nelson Mandela should be assumed of what has happened to the African people, after he promised so much

    ________________________________________________________________________
    ________________________________________________________________________

    Ignorance is only accepted when you have the intention of knowing, what you don't know.

    It seems to me as an African that's your above comments was based on the limited knowledge you have about africa generally and not what is actually visible to you.

  • Comment number 40.

    None. It is a case of the Empererors Clothes. The week after the final has been played it will be forgotten and the £3 billion invested in football stadia will lie there until they rot, or a demolished.
    The money should have been spent housing and replacing the shanty townships, educating the children and curbing the corruption within the ANC.
    The only difference in South Africa is tha colour of skin of those exploiting the poor.

  • Comment number 41.

    Africa is a crime ridden, drug infested, poverty stricken continent, no more so than South Africa, where the end of apartheid has simply increased the misery of the nations peoples'. There are many reasons for why this has happened such as corruption, incompetence and greed of the ever bickering tribal parties. South Africa, as most African nations are rich is resources, yet their corrupt Governments allow greedy western and asian companies to exploit the resources at the nations' expense. The world cup will give the peoples' a brief glimmer of the good life, after which it's back to normal. Nelson Mandela should be assumed of what has happened to the African people, after he promised so much.
    ..............................................................
    Haven't traveled to 8 different countries and stayed in England for over four years (in Reading, Bedford, Coventry and Manchester) I can give you a list problems which your country probably have more than my native Ghana. I saw more prostitutes and drug addicts in Coventry alone than the whole of Ghana put together. You hear of many drug seizures in Africa but they were meant for your market, not ours. From teenage pregnancy to robbery (I was robbed many times in my 4 years in England than my 25 in Ghana) , stress to happiness I can say that your country is barely better than many African countries. But I don't blame you, you are one of the millions of British whose knowledge about Africa has not changed since the day's of Livingstone. Whose only contact with the outside world HAS BEING through TV, where the only images of Africa have come from the refugee camps of Darfur and DR Congo. I am not in anyway saying that we do not have problems but if you thought you were in Heaven then I regret to tell you that you are not too far from gates of Hell.

  • Comment number 42.

    "
    38. At 6:04pm on 10 Jun 2010, Sat_tire wrote:

    Africa, along with all other continents have problems with crime, drugs, corruption and disease. The fact the life expectency in Carlton in Glasgow is 45 for a male is testimony to this.
    "

    45! Wow I'm surprised it's not 25 given the state of the place.

  • Comment number 43.

    It's very important for Africa. Not sure how safe for the visitors going

    there. I would never want to go there. I hope all goes well & all the money

    that will be spent there will be good for the Country (not for the poorer

    people, dont think they will benefit, sadly) It's about time something GOOD &

    positive happened to that part of Africa. If anything can bring 'peace &

    harmony' to the country it will be THE WORLD CUP! England to WIN it!

  • Comment number 44.

    It might be of benefit were not the sporting mafiosa viz FIFA controlling things!

  • Comment number 45.

    The world cup is a bit of a mixed blessing for SA.Put another way a poisoned chalice.For those who think that SA is undeveloped are uninformed.Crime in most areas is not that bad. Ex SA citizens have to keep convincing them selves they were correct to leave so they must tell only the bad.The big business that has benefited most are also the ones that attempt to train and employ the poor who the government have failed.My small business has done OK out of the world cup but I also pay millions in tax that the poor don't.I employ and train uneducated , unskilled who have been failed by the government.The road improvements are not complete by a long shot but to the uninformed I'm sure the infrastructure will surprise. Lets hope this world cup is the pleasant surprise it can be.The payback wont be quick but if successful then there is a chance business can make money in the future and do for the poor what the Government has failed to. If not then all the stadiums will turn in to that not so endangered African species. The white elephant.

  • Comment number 46.

    42. At 6:41pm on 10 Jun 2010, Toad In The Hole wrote:

    "
    38. At 6:04pm on 10 Jun 2010, Sat_tire wrote:

    Africa, along with all other continents have problems with crime, drugs, corruption and disease. The fact the life expectency in Carlton in Glasgow is 45 for a male is testimony to this.
    "

    45! Wow I'm surprised it's not 25 given the state of the place.

    ===============================================================

    What a sad individual, these are peoples lives and you can show such scant respect for them and hold views on the rest of the world that are so warped and out of kilter with reality.

    My brother from Africa, yaw kusi summed it up perfectly.

    What you need to understand is the concept of Ubuntu. See if you can find that in the Beano or where ever you get your so-called information.

  • Comment number 47.

    The soccer world cup will be very good for South Africa. The main problem with Africa as a continent is that its people sycophantically worship their individual leaders and this inevitably leads to corruption and a reluctance of many leaders to relinquish power. The late Amin of Uganda, Mugabe of Zimbabwe, the late Mobutu of the Congo and Kibaki of Kenya, El Bashir of the Sudan are just a few examples. Fortunately it was here in South Africa which set the example when Mandela stepped down after serving only one term as the state president.
    NB Watch out for Mugabe at the opening ceremony. Besides Mandela, Mugabe will get the loudest cheers from the South African spectators who idolise him. He always does and this is because of his stance and nonsensical continuous diatribe against Britain and the western countries.

  • Comment number 48.

    South Africa is the most amazing country with incredibly beautiful people. It has suffered tremendously; the world has looked down on it but it's people have shown their determination to beat poverty and nurture their talents.
    Its children thirst for knowledge and prove their latent ability as footballers, musicians, classical singers,artists and talented proponents of extreme sports.
    The much-maligned Johannesburg (home for many years to Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela) is a wonderful city if you take the time to learn about it, understand it and meet its people as equals. (The food is wonderful; don't forget to try the ostrich steaks. But for those who like 'chain' restaurants - hey guys, this is the home of Nandos!)
    The people of South Africa are proud and happy to host the World Cup. It will give old and young wonderful memories for years to come. If the stadia later serve as training grounds for future athletics hopefuls, as venues for concerts and community events then so much the better.
    Hopefully the rest of the world will also learn something about this beautiful host country during the coming month.
    Listen to the song 'Hope', recorded by an amazing young South African Tenor who was supposed to sing at the opening ceremony but died tragically just a few weeks ago. The sentiment is there. Wake up world.
    Viva Madiba! Viva South Africa!

  • Comment number 49.

    It could be one of the most important things ever to happen there, and has the power to make many people join together on a local and national level. But Africa has a history of being taken advantage of, and I fear that FIFA and the world cup will do nothing other than take advantage of a country that it could help.

  • Comment number 50.

    I'm now watching the 'Kick-Off' concert from Soweto.
    Well done South Africa!
    To the people of South Africa: Molo!
    To the people of Soweto: we love you. Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu.

  • Comment number 51.

    I think whenever a country with a history of unfortunate circumstances such as South Africa is thrust into the spotlight, there is always the possibility that both good and bad can come of it. On the one hand, the onlooking world has the oppportunity to see the country in a positive light, taking the focus away from the country's past. And on the other hand, we may also be reminded of the deep wounds that South Africa has yet to heal from. The fact is that every country has its problems and South Africa is no different. What the world cup can do is to put Africa back on the map, not merely as a victim of colonialism and rape, but as a continent that can stand on its own two feet now and one of it's countries can be the world's host for this exciting event. Sometimes perception can make all the difference and this event can help to change how the world perceives countries in Africa and the competencies of its people.

  • Comment number 52.

    I am a proud African. I live in Namibia, a relatively less populated country in the northern part of the World cup host, South Africa. My country is politically stable and full of friendly people.

    I believe the world cup in South Africa is exactly just what Africa needed to prove European and American critics that Africa has come out of ages. So I am inviting you all to come to Africa and witness the most exciting soccer world cup ever! This is Africa's time and nothing, and i mean nothing, can take this world cup away from us. This is definitely a ONCE IN A LIFETIME experience for Africans!

    And do make a stop in my country, Namibia, during the world cup. We are full of warmth and that is the reason why Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt gave birth to their daughter, Shiloh-Novel, in Namibia.

  • Comment number 53.

    "As well as a sporting tournament, the World Cup hopes to give the continent a chance to present a more positive image to the world. Vast amounts of money have been spent on constructing new stadiums and improving infrastructure in a bid to attract sports fans."

    --------------

    Then, they couldn't have chosen a worse place than South Africa.
    Why not a more civilised place in Africa? Cameroon?, Nigeria?, Morocco?, Egypt?

    If South Africans wish to portray a better image, then they should stop raping women. No, it's not a minority problem. We're talking about more than 50000 cases a year.

    I for one won't be watching a single game in this world cup.

  • Comment number 54.

    I think hosting such a global event is good for South Africa in terms of participating in the world community and demonstrating that their community is as capable as any other. The economy will benefit from the many visitors and jobs will have been created via all the preparation work. All good so far.

    However, when you think of the very severe problems South Africa has with regard to crime, AIDS, poverty and racial tension, I do wonder if the money for all those glittering venues might have been better spent elsewhere (in terms of lasting legacy). It would be a shame in 10 or 15 years time to see no improvement in the problems, while massive, unused stadiums rot in the background.

  • Comment number 55.

    Without sounding too judgmental I think it really is about time that we have African states that can handle a world event without the fear of violence. Exactly how many African states are there where you can feel safe as a foreigner? Safe as a white person? Safe as a Christian or non-Muslim in some nations? These are abnormally huge issues for this continent that really should have no real weight any more. Every country and every nation has issues on the curtailment of individual liberty. It just seems that Africa is deeply inflicted with this type of social dysfunction.

    I don't expect it but I truly hope that individual Africans start to see the benefits of a free government, the benefits of religious freedom and the benefits of a free market. Perhaps some exposure to those nations of the world that still espouse these concepts might help. And I do wish blessings on the individual Africans who have some contact with this event and that they can spread a message of inter-nation and inter-religious and inter-tribal peace. I truly believe that deep down individuals in Africa know exactly what peace and harmony is about.

  • Comment number 56.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 57.

    The people who will benefit from the World Cup in South Africa,will be FIFA, they have taken legal action against a World Cup keyring made in South Africa, being sold, it costs £3 and looks alright, however FIFA has had their World Cup, mascot manufactured in China and sells for £6 and looks rather tatty, why did FIFA not have the decency to let the keyring be sold, or were they afraid of the competition

  • Comment number 58.

    Yes, the world cup will showcase the continent which has been of interest to the rest of the world for so many years and yet the rich just steal from the poor (developed countries reap from the developing countries all its resources). The media always shows the negative side of these countries, why not show the good areas too. Like in South Africa, why show Soweto as the major harzard and yet there are better places like Pretoris, Gauteng and the like. And yet when the media return to their homecountries they only show the good areas where the people. For example in Britain, when the Commonwealth games took place in 2002 in Manchester, why didn't they show the high crime in Levenshulme or Rusholme; in Nottingham, the gangstars in Beeston and London....places like Peckham, Hackney etc...why only display Oxford Street, Westminster Parliament, London Eye as if ordinary people live there. They need to show people struggling in the UK the same way they show Africans struggling.
    But World Cup 2010 will go down in the books for Africa and FIFA needs to be encouraged to have the games on a balanced venue between developed and developing countries. This eases on 'immigration visas' and the opportunity for countries to improve on tourism.
    Besides the Exodus (the Israelites from Egypt to the promised land), slave trade and the presidents who just love staying in power for the sake of riches from corruption (and this applies to developed countries too), I think the countries within the Africa continent have a chance to develop within their own space.

  • Comment number 59.

    Hopefully it will be good for SA, not sure how it will be of benefit to say, Congo, Nigeria, Angola, Lybia etc.

    Good to see a major tournament being held on the African continent though!

  • Comment number 60.

    Important to Africa to generate more income to then be spent on their internal wars; as is every penny of foreign aid that they receive.

    Whilst we continue to see African leaders wearing Savile Row suits, living in palaces with wealth beyond our imagination and travelling in brand new bullet proof limo's, whilst at the same time their people remain unclothed, die of hunger, torture and AIDS, the 'civilised' world should not encourage them.

  • Comment number 61.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 62.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 63.

    How i agree with James at comment 60.

    It has been twenty years since the release of Mandela and the end of apartheid. The leadership of the old man from 1990 to 1999 was a blessing but these days our leaders are perceived to be insincere, uncaring and extremely corrupt. They have most surely ensured that they are the richest bunch of politicians on earth whilst millions of our people are starving. A recent survey revealed that over half of South Africa's 25 million children are undernourished.
    Not seen by the world cup viewers world wide, are millions of starving South Africans living in shacks without running water, electricity and flushing toilets. Quite often violent demonstrations break out country wide with desperate people demanding that the ANC government does something to relieve their plight. However, all these insensitive government ministers appear to do is to visit the shanty towns displaying their own huge wealth in their mile long convoys of expensive cars and surrounded by their hordes of beefy suited bodyguards. They really do take the cake.

  • Comment number 64.

    The World Cup will benefit Africa on the tourism sector as its blessed with lots of natural resources.Africa will also be able to silence critics who think we can not prepare any thing that is world class.

  • Comment number 65.

    Africa has the best players in the world. Its only because of negative media publicity that they are always criticized.

  • Comment number 66.

    I have been waiting to hear this world cup football matches in an African nation.
    Now, it became true to reality.
    Compare to many nations,African nations were neglected,ignored,very few good news on their day today life,culture, economic,educational and social status to this broader world.
    Now,a new light was emerged,opportunity to show their hospitality,countries culture,places of interests and their real development on many vital fields.
    South Africa will get more revenue from these world sports events,more focus to world watch dog,policy planners and to world leaders for up grading their progress and will be world eye opener and future benefits to young Africans for probable shining in vital fields in future years.
    Hope to get more lively news with proper coverages of this world cup football events, peace and harmony will prevail at the time of this wonderful sports events.
    Great cheer to African nations and enjoy their actual,real freedom from every corner of this world.,

  • Comment number 67.

    Excitement possibly close to 100%. Legacy 0% in a nation with a large and predominantly poor population.

  • Comment number 68.

    As a South Africa, I see as a big acheivement that we are hosting the cup, however i Take exception to the negativity that is being banndied around on sites like these, from people that have either never been there or from ex southa fricans that have decided that they are now english etc because they have a UK passport. I have a UK passport, but I am still a South African.
    Once you have been there & experienced the country for what it is, a great nation of people, with some of the best places to visit, where you can enjoy the country life like you should.
    Yes there are drugs, so big deal, the same can be said for any country that has an airport or harbour as these are where the most drugs will come in. Crime is any where you go, if you have those that have & those that do not, there will always be that element that thinks they deserve to have things for nothing & will take it from you. Every country should be striving to up lift its people by what ever means, but it takes time, as the saying goes 'you can take a horse to water, but you canot make it drink' The same can be said about criminals, you can show them a better way to life but you cannot force them to do it, can you. Most of the family I have spoken to about this cup thing are only concerned about one thing, the hooligan element from other countries trying there luck in South Africa & getting a hiding from the locals, then the press from the respective countries hyping it up to make SA look bad. The good thing though is a few nights in a SA jail will make any visiting hooligsn turn straight.

  • Comment number 69.

    20. At 2:03pm on 10 Jun 2010, General_Jack_Ripper wrote:
    Toad In The Hole
    Africa is a crime ridden, drug infested, poverty stricken continent...


    If ignorance is bliss you must be the happiest person in the world !
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    What a fantastic response, I fell off my seat laughing....

    However, the gentleman who made the original comment to which you have responded does actually have a point. I understand that it does appear to be a very bigoted comment to have made, but nonetheless, Africa does suffer greatly as a result of the various negatives that he has mentioned.

    So in fairness, his comments weren't so much ignorant, probably just distasteful.

    I recently visited South Africa and I loved it, what a beautiful country. But it is fair to say that it is poverty stricken. We passed by Gompo in east London and it is truly awful how these people live, but also quite inspiring. I saw one on of the busiest hair salons I have ever seen, built out of a rusting shipping container, as well as other entrepreneurial enterprises, you have to give them credit for the ability to meet adversity and make the best of it.

    On saying all of this though, I have heard reports that FIFA have outsourced the making of souvenirs for the event to China.

    This is disgusting! What country could have used that right to manufacture more than the host country and a country such as South Africa that would have benefitted greatly from the creation of the jobs required in that manufacturing field.

    FIFA. You are a disgrace!

  • Comment number 70.

    How will this benefit Africa? I can understand it could benefit the host nation but the continent itself? Africa always seems to get mentioned in the sense of a single entity. It is fifty three diverse states. How much does a Tuareg nomad have in common with a South African banker?

  • Comment number 71.

    It would be a huge breakthrough not only for the SA republic but also for all people living in Africa. It’s the issue to cast off all centuries-old preconceptions and the way to show the continent’s stage of development. I wish people all round the world acknowledged that Africa has already surmounted the status of developing, digressive (or whatever negative) continent.
    I think such large-scale event should and will unite millions of people. I hope to be so…

  • Comment number 72.

    People in much of the western world have this very negative view of much of Africa. It doesn't matter which country - they tend to be lumped together with a negative label, where people think of it as a charity case with nothing to offer. And in fact, much of the media does little to help its image. All we hear about are droughts and famine, sponsor-a-child ads, civil war, disease, and poverty. And South African football.

    What Africa needs is help getting people to recognize what the continent has to offer and what it can become. And in the west, we need to see more than what we do. We need to see business opportunities, chances at really helping in an effective way, and of the slow but important development, especially in the bigger cities.

    Is the World Cup very important? Yes. It is another way of attracting attention to the region in a certainly more positive manner than usual.

  • Comment number 73.

    1. At 12:18pm on 10 Jun 2010, Toad In The Hole wrote:

    Africa is a crime ridden, drug infested, poverty stricken continent...

    -------------------

    And this is different from western civilizations how? Of course...the corruption is hidden instead of plain sight!

  • Comment number 74.

    Africa's population has trebled from 250m in 1950 to 750m now. Imagine the mess Britain would be in if our growth had been the same. If the world cup simply means people watch football for a month rather than further increasing their birth rate it will have a positive effect. Cruel but sadly true.

  • Comment number 75.

    I hope it brings much needed support to the African continent. However, I fear its benefits will be short lived and Africa will continue to be the most neglected continent on the planet, thanks to the attitude of the western world. It needs more than a football tournament to kick start a cure for its ills.

  • Comment number 76.

    Yes excellent event for Africa as we africans have the feeling that the world cares for us .This is a huge sense of pride that Africa is an important part of the world that deserves attention and focus.It an excuse for Africa to make more efforts

  • Comment number 77.

    I find the whole idea that Africa has to host a World Cup to prove its competence rather insulting and I am surprised that Africans go along with this band-wagon. I would also very much like to see a breakdown of the capital and operating expenditure of this World Cup, in terms of where the money is going - for example, what does Africa have to boast on the high-speed train system since it's being done with European contractors? And what are the direct benefits for Africa then?

    No, really, the UN needs to set governance standards and independently audit and report against those standards to show us who is really competent at government and who isn't. The World Cup is a great event but it has nothing to do with Africa proving itself at all. Let's just play and watch soccer and ignore the daft political rhetoric.

  • Comment number 78.

    i'll be glad when it's all over and things get back to normal! for a start there cutting out eastenders because of it and i really don't like football so the bbc should keep the football to a minimum.

  • Comment number 79.

    With such poverty and crime so rife in South Africa it seems a senseless waste of money to spend on building structures for football when so many lives could be improved with this expenditure. We have to hope that somehow whilst offering enjoyment some semblance of the economy will improve so that the some of the squalor the majority of the people live in will be relieved.

  • Comment number 80.

    The world cup is just a dream, when it is over reality will kick in!

  • Comment number 81.

    The World Cup is not important at all. When the football goes the country will be just as crime ridden and corrupt as it was before. Under Zuma South Africa will go down exactly the same route as Zimbabwe. The only difference is more people will resist him than they did Mugabe.

  • Comment number 82.

    Its a game of football in a small part of the African continent.

    It just detracts from poverty and aids.

    How much aid money went into the corporate hospitality.

  • Comment number 83.

    Ive been suprised that the world cup is a non event to white south africans all media coverage we have seen no white youngsters at the training camps or involved to the events. I went to south africa for the cricket last year and the mix of black and white at matches was great to see but it looks that was a one off.

  • Comment number 84.

    After reading all of these comments, I've come to the realization that none of this talk of long lasting effects is going to matter... Does anyone here even strongly remember the last world cup location or a similar situation like the beijing olympics? No. Because once it's over, It's OVER and will slowly fade away and everyone will simply forget it, including Africa.

  • Comment number 85.

    Delightful and heartwarming comments from nunber one, Toad in the Hole.

    Howver as a person who hates, detests and abhores soccer, not just the game, but the horrid racial thugs that support it, I hope this tournament gives hope to Africa, a continent destroyed over the years by many things, it is time they got a break.

  • Comment number 86.

    "
    20. At 2:03pm on 10 Jun 2010, General_Jack_Ripper wrote:

    Toad In The Hole
    Africa is a crime ridden, drug infested, poverty stricken continent...


    If ignorance is bliss you must be the happiest person in the world !
    "

    That's for that. As I've been very mistaken and that Africa is not a crime ridden, drug infested, poverty stricken continent, I'll be cancelling my monthly donations to unicef (www.unicef.org.uk), because it's no longer required. Now what do I spend that extra £25 a month on, let me see.....

  • Comment number 87.

    Just like the london olymics it is a waste of money and quite irrelevant really.

  • Comment number 88.

    Major world events should be awarded on merit rather than politics. The world cup hopefully will draw attention to the dreadfull and very sad conditions so many africans are forced to endure through no fault of their own. Perhaps at last their plight will be exposed in full to a world ready to help out, even if there is very little oil

  • Comment number 89.

    The importance of vanity projects like this is greatly overestimated, as a long list of previous World Cup and Olympic hosts will confirm.

    Hosting the World Cup is simply an extravagant and wasteful vanity project for South Africa's increasingly corrupt and incompetent leaders. There will be no lasting benefits for the country just because a few foreigners kicked a ball around for a couple of weeks while the world watched on TV. Stadiums all look the same and football fans don't care where they are. In a month's time it will all be forgotten.

    Far greater benefits could have been gained by spending these vast sums on improving and expanding high quality tourism to bring in more visitors for the long term, and by doing something about the crime and poverty that currently blights this beautiful country and keeps tourists away. But instead the leaders chose to waste scarce resources on this white elephant.

    Having lived there for a while, I wish South Africa well, but they are sadly mistaken if they think this is some kind of turning point. It isn't. It's just another con trick played out on the local population.

  • Comment number 90.

    I too used to have all kinds of daft prejudices about africa.

    Then my best mate married a black Zimbabwean 5 years ago and since then I've kind of been sucked into the African Immigrant social scene.

    Great people, all very proud of their respective countries even if they dislike the leadership, friendly, generous almost to a fault.

    One thing that strikes me as European is the shared pride in the whole African continent regardless of their country of birth, something I've never heard expressed by Europeans about their own continent.

    So good luck to South Africa I hope you have a brilliant tournament.

    PS

    Engerland Engerland Engerland

  • Comment number 91.

    "
    26. At 2:50pm on 10 Jun 2010, Bob A Job wrote:

    1. At 12:18pm on 10 Jun 2010, Toad In The Hole wrote:

    Africa is a crime ridden, drug infested, poverty stricken continent, no more so than South Africa, where the end of apartheid has simply increased the misery of the nations peoples'. There are many reasons for why this has happened such as corruption, incompetence and greed of the ever bickering tribal parties. South Africa, as most African nations are rich is resources, yet their corrupt Governments allow greedy western and asian companies to exploit the resources at the nations' expense. The world cup will give the peoples' a brief glimmer of the good life, after which it's back to normal. Nelson Mandela should be assumed of what has happened to the African people, after he promised so much.

    Obviously haven't spent much time in any African country. Having spent may years living in countries in Africa, I recognise you view as that of the much of the media in the UK. The reality is far more interesting.
    "

    Been (mostly work related) to South Africa (1981, 1983-4, 1991, 1999, 2001-2, 2005-6), Zimbabwe (1981, 1988,1990, 1995-6), Kenya (1981, 1999, 2002), Angola (2006), Ghana (2006). So yeah, I have no idea what I'm talking about.

    I'm truly amazed how anyone in the 21st century can believe that Africa is some kinda paradise. I wish I could introduce you to the many friends and co-workers I have who have left their African homes because of the problems' there. And no, many are non-white, so don't try and play the race card.

  • Comment number 92.

    My, my Toad in the Hole and the other Daily Mail readers, have any of you actually visited South Africa?

    We had a great family holiday there two years ago. Our then 6 & 9 year olds still say it was their best holiday ever.

    Yes Africa has its problems but I hope the World Cup shows the other side of Africa we saw - fun, wonder, friendship and a wonderful welcome.

    I have been lucky to both live abroad & be able to visit many countries and across the five continents I've visited I've found that people everywhere are very similar to the British - wanting to be welcoming to others and to do well for their families.

    Yes there are bad people everywhere, including here - take a brief review of the UK news to find out about how "crime ridden, drug infested, poverty stricken" this country is.

    If we stop seeing Africa as a basket case then just maybe we can start seeing the business opportunities others like the Chinese are hovering up.

  • Comment number 93.

    It will be just like the 2012 Olympics in England. The only people to prosper from it will be a few opportunist scroungers/thieves.

  • Comment number 94.

    As a South African leaving in the UK, I am divided with my emotions about the World Cup been held in South Africa. Part of me would love to be there, as I see from the photo's that my friends in South Africa send me, that there is a great atmosphere among everyone & I think that to be part of it & feel the buzz must be great. On the other side though, I am glad that I'm not there, because of all the chaos. I can imagine that the roads will be a nightmare, drunken fans everywhere, crime will rise etc. Having said that I wish everyone there a great time, all the best to all the teams & be careful when out & about.

  • Comment number 95.

    A temporary diversion for the SA people from the lack of progress in improving their lives. A lot of welcome, but short term construction jobs, and soccer is the game of the Black population in SA.

    A bit like the effect of hosting the Olympics, it's a privilege, but a costly one. It's hard to believe that there will be any significant long term benefit to the economy in terms of jobs, unless the new facilities can attract further, and profitable international events.

    It's a beautiful country with great people that love sport, good luck to them all.

    Will I watch it? Unlikely.

  • Comment number 96.

    I am South African and as far as I am concerned the World Cup is going to be bittersweet!
    For now the honeymoon phase has begun and everyone is swept up in the mass hysteria of the game. For a few weeks all the incompetence, African rhetoric and racial inadequacies will be forgotten. The news will probably not highlight the crime or the daily murders favoring a more "if we don't mention it, it does not exist" stance. The spectre of apartheid will be whipped like a dead horse all while using the sport as an beacon for emancipation.
    The corruption, incompetence and cronyism that has plagued the lead up to the matches will be quietly silenced and be frowned on as being politically incorrect.
    After the World Cup South African taxpayers will end up footing the bill which is 8 times more than what was originally proposed for the building of the infrastructure.
    The poor will be forgotten and a few more foreigners will be going home with lighter wallets and experiences learnt from being silly and naive in areas where they should not have been, and some will have contracted AIDS from dubious midnight sojourns into areas where prostitutes plow their trade.


    But lets all remember that once everyone has closed up shop and gone that the S Africa that once was a thriving metropolis was turned into a dustbowl by the powers that be. The railway system crumbled under the ANC and Hillbrow was turned into a slum due to corruption and mismanagement. I fear the same is not long in the offing for the stadiums and the well touted railway system linking all the great cities together. How long before people stop using the train because of fear of being mugged and robbed?

    So why bittersweet? For now it is amazing to see what South Africa as a country can do even if the hysteria is sadly misplaced, even if the likes of Malema are forgotten- for now.

  • Comment number 97.

    South africa had to borrow £60 million from FIFA to finish the stadiums and I guess the majority of the population will not be able to afford the tickets so what will be the benefit to the average South African? For third world nations these type of events including the Olympics are a no no as they cost to much and the money could be better uterlised. As the majority of players taking part earn far more than most then whay don't they put there hands in there pockets and help finance the tournement.

  • Comment number 98.

    To the South Africa presented to tourists and the outside world, ie cities and safari parks, the World Cup is akin to obtaining the Holy Grail. But to the South Africans living in townships and rural areas ravaged by AIDS, murder (at least 50 per day) and rape, the World Cup is merely a temporary distraction.

    Putting that aside, which is easy for someone not living there, I hope the tournament is trouble-free, enjoyed by billions of people across the globe, and that we see some good games.

  • Comment number 99.

    The World Cup is not important in any aspect. The hysteria surrounding a bankrupt spectacle indicates a world in which 99.9% of the "people" are without quality.

  • Comment number 100.

    It is important for South Africa to be seen to have moved on. From racial issues etc., We need to keep violence of the Pitch as well as all players respect each other and abstain from voilent outburst on the pitch. Becuase nine times out of ten someone will copy the violence that they see. So play safe and keep safe

 

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