Worth every penny!
Thanks to the World Cup, South Africa has now leapfrogged Egypt and Libya to become the leading African superpower. Countless reports from western media speculated that S.A wouldn’t have the capacity to host the prestigious event.
As a matter of fact, they had made us believe that some other host country had been secretly lined just in case. However, after a successful kickoff, the pessimists still have one more rabbit to pull out of the hat. They claim that: “The World Cup bill was wastage of money by a country swallowed in poverty!”
In my opinion; mark my words, such a remark is every inch racist! Why is it that, for all the times Africa has participated in international sports, nobody has come out to say that, Africa shouldn’t participate in luxurious activities but rather, focus on empowering its poor? Why do they allow us to participate, but not to host?
Were all Germans well off when they hosted the tournament in 2006? How come nobody made noise when Brazil, with a considerably poor population was chosen to host WC in 2014?
When it comes to Africa, a horrific image is painted. As I watched TV, I realized that some journalists want to make S.A seem the worst place in Africa, saying that crime and AIDS had spiraled. These journalists forgot that in Brazil, family members are kidnapped for ransom from sportsmen.
In Italy, referees and players were threatened by mafias to fix matches! What is worse than that?
As many people as you can imagine are currently employed in S.A by the ten-plus spectacular stadiums. Poor people who were unemployed are now working at the stadiums; thousands of graduates who had vainly traversed street corners searching for employment are now grateful that their country is hosting the event.
With thousands of tourists visiting S.A in the one month period of the tournament, every business, big and small has got an ultimate opportunity to create a legacy that they only dreamed of.
On talent development, more young people from Africa will be inspired to play in those stadiums, thus develop their talents, which will also help the South African league to climb a ladder or two in world rankings. As time goes, we will become cult followers of the South African soccer league instead of the English and Italian leagues.
Although S.A is not expected to recover the US$ 3.7 million cost for hosting the tournament in the short run, its clear that the projected benefits will be more valuable to the South Africans in years to come.
When the World Cup is finally done, everybody will go back home, but S.A will remain with all the dollars in revenue and business contacts, but above all, they will remain with more modern football stadiums, excellent road and airport terminals and off-the-hook hotels.
S.A’s World Cup bill shouldn’t be viewed as a risky cost, but rather, as an insightful investment.