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Fifa World Cup must be about the people

By unknown | Apr 18, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

A couple of months ago I met Sowetan executives to basically introduce myself as the Head of Communications of the South African Organising Committee of the World Cup 2010.

A couple of months ago I met Sowetan executives to basically introduce myself as the Head of Communications of the South African Organising Committee of the World Cup 2010.

That meeting led to an invitation to share my experiences and observations about preparations of what President Thabo Mbeki has promised the world will be "the best ever World Cup".

A few years ago, May 15 2004 to be exact, millions of South Africans poured out into the streets blowing their vuvuzelas, ecstatic at the fact that now, Africa's turn to host the biggest sporting spectacle, had been granted.

Six years before, the very crowd was downcast and crestfallen that we had lost the bid to host in 2006.

I was reminded of all these things, including the fact that the opportunity for us to be hosts to the world was not only motivated by our leaders in football but by our elder statesmen, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former presidents, F.W de Klerk and the beloved Madiba, when I decided to join the LOC.

Mbeki was personally on hand at Fifa headquarters to make a passionate appeal for Africa, forever a contributor to the growth and development of the rest of world except for itself, to be given a chance to play host to the world.

I would like us to reflect on these interventions to remind ourselves that the World Cup did not bring itself to South Africa but that we asked Fifa for it.

Therefore, as we prepare for 2010 we should always remember that we promised the world an excellent experience and a spectacular event.

Closer to home, the World Cup 2010 has become the catalyst for so much more development than the construction of the football facilities.

As the Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel repeatedly reminds us, the South African public sector is currently and over the next few years investing around R420 billion in the development of infrastructure.

That is a substantial amount of investment that should unlock opportunities for many existing and aspirant business people.

These investments, beyond the construction of stadia, will serve to improve the public transport system, telecommunications, energy and so on. The landscape is definitely changing. But the World Cup should be about more than that. It is about people for the sport itself is about people.

The players, the coaches, referees, administrators and of course the lifeblood of football, the fans. The challenge to us, is to take the opportunity that South Africa 2010 presents us, to become the society we always dream about. A society that cares, that creates and that is willing to live up to its image of becoming the modern miracle where people live in peace with one another and their neighbours, free of fear of crime, free of poverty and disease and free of prejudice and hatred.

Over the coming months and weeks I will write about the work that many of my colleagues in the organisation are doing, celebrate their achievements as well as highlight the challenges. I would also welcome any input from you the reader of this great newspaper, Sowetan.

lTim Modise is the Head of Communications of the 2010 South African World Cup 2010 Organising Committee.

For your queries or comments to Modise send an e-mail to mikam@sowetan.co.za and copy rabothatas@sowetan.co.za, for now.


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