POLICE officers who worked at World Cup stadiums feel they were overworked in a good cause. They say the experience was incomparable.
"Everyday was electrifying. Each time I went to the stadium I saw happy faces. The fans did not only come to watch soccer but to enjoy themselves as well," said Sean Molefe (not his real), a detective attached to Booysens police station.
Molefe, who was based at Soccer City Stadium, said the police were not allowed to watch the game.
"We were there to work. We wanted to ensure that fans were safe. It would have been nice to sit down and watch the game," he said.
He said though they worked long ours it was worth it.
"On a match day we were expected to be at the stadium seven hours before the game started and would remain there until everyone had left," Molefe said.
He said he expected the highlight of his career to be last night's final between Spain and the Netherlands.
The detective complimented overseas fans with their tidiness.
"They are not like South African fans. When they are finished eating or drinking they put their litter in the dustbins. They don't just throw things around," he said.
Another officer assigned to patrol the streets of Johannesburg said he felt motivated and wished the tournament would continue over the next months.
"We were promised R700 for over-time and about R150 for lunch a day. That's a big motivation for us," said Themba Nhlapo (not his real name).
Nhlapo, who has been a cop for 20 years, said the World Cup was the highlight of his career.
"I had been looking forward to the year 2010 because of the World Cup. I am glad that I played a role in making our visitors feel safe. I will be able to say 'I was there'," he said.
He said he had been part of the rugby World Cup in 1995.
"I enjoyed the rugby World Cup but the soccer World Cup was something I can't explain," he said.
He said the only disappointment was that they had not been paid as promised.
He said they were told they would get their money on June 10 but they had not received it.
The officers said crime had gone down during the World Cup because police worked hard and their work was appreciated.
Nhlapo said he believed the police had enough manpower to continue working as they did during the tournament.
"There are so many police who sit around in offices and do nothing. If all those police officers could take to the streets, crime would be reduced significantly," he said.
Nhlapo said they started working on World Cup safety on June 1 and would stop tomorrow.