Sekunjalo, SA’s more than ready

2009-09-09 11:38

LAST Friday I attended the launch of Football Fridays campaign at

the SA Football Association (Safa) House in Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, and

it finally dawned on me that this world cup thing is actually coming our

way.

The aim of this particular campaign is to encourage all proudly

South Africans to wear their football jerseys on Fridays and to learn the

national anthem, fly the South African flag with pride and also celebrate the

fact that our country will indeed host the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Just being around the Soccer City area inspires confidence,

particularly when you see the tremendous work done on the stadium and the

broader precinct. The question is no longer whether or not we will be ready to

host the event, but what kind of hosts will we be.

At the event, chief executive of 2010 Local Organising Committee

(LOC), Danny Jordan, spoke about the world cup as one of the several defining

moments in the making of South Africa; others being the release of president

Nelson Mandela from Victor Verster Prison in 1990, the first democratic general

elections in 1994 and the Springboks winning the Rugby World Cup in 1995.

The passion among the men and women working on South Africa’s

preparations for the World Cup, from the most senior executives to the men and

women picking up pieces of litter around the stadiums, makes one proud to be a

South African.

I know jealous people around the world, including those who come

from this country, who continue to spread false rumours about our beautiful

country. But those of us who live here know this country better. And some of

these rumour-mongers cannot even point South Africa on the world map. I can’t

help but feel sorry for them.

Fact is, we, proud South Africans, are going to make history next

year in winter months of June and July. And already, we are told that the LOC

has received applications from over 70 000 people from across the world who

wishes to work as volunteers during the World Cup. This is most certainly a

resounding vote of confidence.

We’re going to do this thing so well that South African expatriates

in London, Sydney, Moscow, New York or Montreal for that matter would want to

get the next available flight to Johannesburg, if only to be closer to the

rhythm because, by then, all tickets would have sold out.

I am aware that our national soccer team, Bafana Bafana, is not

doing well in its preparations for the World Cup, but next year when we talk

about the team, we will be talking about the broader South African citizenship

and not just the 11 men on the soccer pitch.

Now that questions about our state of readiness have effectively

become irrelevant, we must all start debating a new question: How will the world

look at us after the final match of the 2010 Fifa World Cup? Will they still

look at us in the same way that they look at us now? What kind of picture will

they have of South Africa?

– Madibeng Kgwete, Pretoria

 

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