Dream team: BBC Swahili's Charles Hilary and Salim Kikeke
Football has the power to unite people from all over the world. It is this shared passion for the game that has turned the FIFA World Cup into a global symbol, bridging divides and bringing people together.
BBC Global News will be there to cover the entire 2010 World Cup, which will be the most-watched international sporting event ever.
With the tournament taking place in South Africa, it is a pivotal event for the continent as a whole. Six African nations have qualified – Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and the hosts, South Africa – and BBC World Service will have dedicated reporters from its African productions following the fortunes of the six teams closely.
Voice of African sport
Among them is renowned sports journalist Farayi Mungazi, who is known across the continent as the voice of African sport. It was Farayi who broke the news of the shooting at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola this January, when gunmen fired on a bus carrying Togo’s football team to the tournament. As an authority on the sport, Farayi will be championing BBC Global News’s coverage of the World Cup.
Having grown up in Zimbabwe, where he played for a team one rung below the country’s top flight before pursuing a career in sports journalism, Farayi has monitored the growing importance of football across the continent avidly.
The game took off in Africa after Cameroon’s remarkable displays during the 1990 World Cup in Italy, he says. Up until then, African football had always been viewed with disdain and African teams just went to the World Cup to make up the numbers. But, after 1990, doors opened for African footballers in Europe and that had a tremendous effect on national teams across Africa.
Rise of Twitter
Follow the action on Twitter
BBC World News
(David Eades, Sean Fletcher)
BBC World Service
(Richard Connelly, Farayi Mungazi)
Since the 2006 World Cup, there has been a rapid rise in the availability of new technology that facilitates social networking. The BBC will make use of Twitter and blogs to provide up-to-the minute coverage and commentary.
The BBC’s Richard Connelly trialled Twitter at the Africa Cup of Nations, using it to share his stories first-hand with the audience. By the end of the tournament, he had more than 1,500 followers. BBC World Service hopes to repeat that success at the World Cup with a number of reporters expected to ‘tweet’ in English and other languages.
The tweeters will include BBC Brasil reporter Daniel Gallas, who will be embedded with Brazil’s national team, tweeting in both Brazilian Portuguese and English. BBC Mundo’s Vladimir Hernandez will also be making use of Twitter to share stories with the service’s Spanish-speaking audiences.
Among other language services that will report from South Africa during the World Cup are BBC Arabic, BBC Bengali, BBC Chinese, BBC French for Africa, BBC Hausa, BBC Hindi, BBC Persian, BBC Somali and BBC Swahili – whose team will include sports presenters Charles Hilary and Salim Kikeke. In a special World Cup Have Your Say, the World Have Your Say team will broadcast daily each weekday morning from Soweto.
Russell Fuller will host Sportsworld
BBC World Service Sport will have five journalists based in different cities across South Africa – Richard Fleming in Cape Town; Martin Foulkes in Durban; and Richard Connelly and Chris Mitchell in Johannesburg. They, alongside Russell Fuller, will work across Sportsworld, Sportsworld Have Your Say, World Football and Sports News bulletins. Additionally, BBC World Service Sport will produce a World Cup Daily Round-up with the day’s major stories, plus a look ahead.
The Sony-nominated World Football will be produced by Richard Padula and presented by Alan Green, and African football specialist Piers Edwards will be writing a blog for BBC Sport’s website. Presenters Komla Dumor and Ros Atkins will be based in Soweto to host news and current affairs programme The World Today.
Meanwhile, a BBC team will travel through West Africa's 'football factory' for 10 days ahead of the World Cup to stoke debate about the challenges faced by Africa on a global level. The Africa Kicks tour will use football, business and conflict resolution as levers to offer fresh insights on these themes, with content being shared across different outlets and platforms.