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Football unites the residents of Cape Town

By unknown | Jul 25, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

The '90 minutes for Mandela' has come and gone but its memory will linger for a very long time in the minds of those who witnessed, participated, played and watched via television.

The '90 minutes for Mandela' has come and gone but its memory will linger for a very long time in the minds of those who witnessed, participated, played and watched via television.

The experience, from the spectator and organiser point of view, was a sight to behold.

Not many people would have believed that Newlands Stadium in Cape Town could attract more than 35000 paying spectators - to a midweek game, nogal. But this is a country of miracles and they still do happen, even in Cape Town.

The buzz started with the arrival in the city on Tuesday of the various soccer greats, among them our own Lucas Radebe, Mark Fish, Doctor Khumalo, Phil Masinga, Andre Arendse and coach Jomo Sono.

It became louder on the morning of the match when the players were joined by more than 150 journalists on a boat trip to Robben Island.

After several hours on the island, the esteemed players from around the world, and Africa in particular, broke into song to wish their favourite icon "happy birthday".

That was the beginning of things to come, because come match time, many of the players who had retired moons ago, displayed the skill and experience that makes them such respected artists up to today.

To make the event the success that it was took a lot of hard work on the part of the different organisers.

From the Local Organising Committee's perspective it was a worthwhile team effort that gave us the opportunity to apply some of the plans and lessons we are learning internally, to an actual event. The team is still relatively small, but I think it performed very well under the circumstances.

From the accreditation process to the recruitment and deployment of volunteers, my colleagues showed that they could rise to the occasion. There are several things to consider when organising such events that many of us, myself included, would take for granted.

These things depend a lot on a reasonable amount of time and resources to be available for forward planning.

The work involved booking accommodation and transport for the visitors; booking the stadium itself and the conversion of some parts of the stadium to make it compliant with Fifa standards; the provision of security; the provision of IT solutions; the marketing of the game; the management of the day's programme, etcetera.

These exposed us to a lot of issues we still have to consider and learn.

It is thanks to our Fifa colleagues and our host city partners in Cape Town that many of the challenges facing us could be dealt with swiftly and unobtrusively.

Overall the game was wonderful and the atmosphere fantastic, except for the security infringement of fans invading the pitch at the end of the game to celebrate their heroes.

The people of Cape Town gave us a wonderful welcome and I am sure many of our visitors enjoyed their stay in Cape Town.

As the LOC we have gained some experience, we have learned some lessons and we have strengthened our relationships with the various partners involved in the 2010 World Cup.

But more importantly, the game of football unintentionally united the residents of the Mother City on the night.

l Tim Modise is the 2010 World Cup SA Local Organising Committee's head of communications. - For your suggestions, queries and more on 2010 e-mail


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