Limpopo gets World Cup fever

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

The 2010 World Cup will leave a lasting tourism legacy for Limpopo. It will also have a massive impact on its economy.

Kwena Matjekane, a senior University of Limpopo economics lecturer, said the province was well positioned to attract more people from other African countries. Polokwane's Peter Mokaba Sports Complex will be one of the World Cup venues.

"The spin-offs will boost the provincial economy. The geographical location of Limpopo makes it easier for people from neighbouring countries to come here," said Matjekane.

"Limpopo is close to African countries like Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Many of the people will be coming here for the first time.

"First impressions last longer; we need to make an impact in such a way that we will impress them to come back even after 2010 on holiday.

"The mere announcement that [the World Cup in] 2010 was coming here has generated a lot of expectations among the people of Limpopo and the rest of South Africa.

"Some of the people have already started renovating their houses, creating bed and breakfasts with the hope of accommodating soccer fans.

"Some of our people have new investments - that itself has started the creation of jobs. The danger is that the expectations are [too] high.

"We should plan our things in such a way that we are able to sustain our businesses even after 2010."

Turning to the legacy of the 2010 World Cup, Matjekane said: "The government is compelled to look at infrastructure. Things like roads, transport and building of new or renovating existing stadiums are being looked into."

Match, a Fifa appointed agency for ticketing and accommodation, said they will start looking for 30 000 additional rooms for accommodation soon.

Adam Brown, a senior executive of the agency, said they already have 25 000 of the 55 000 rooms needed to accommodate officials, media and supporters.