The closing date for applications to the 2010 FIFA World Cup Legacy Trust (31 August) is looming fast.
The trust which has reportedly received more than 70 applications will be disbursing a total of R40 million of the R450 million received from FIFA as a legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Two years have now passed since South Africa hosted the quaddrennial showpiece of international soccer and what do we have to show for it?
The truth is precious little. Sure we’ve got gleaming new stadiums but, for the most part, they stand empty with the exception of Manchester United pre-season friendlies and the occasional rock concert.
It’s a travesty, an absolute outrage that so soon after such a spectacular (and successful) World Cup, there is so much apathy. The problem, as I see it, is there is a disconnect between the top (read Safa executive) and the bottom (read grassroots soccer) and everything in between is floundering.
Here’s an example: Amajita (that’s our national Under 20 side – the Bafana stars of the future) earlier this month beat a stubborn Congo 1-0 at Milpark Stadium in Johannesburg to advance in the African Youth Championship. And guess what? About 50 fans showed up (and apparently not a single Safa member was present).
Shame on them! Next month, Bafana Bafana will take on mighty Brazil in Sao Paulo as part of a handover from the 2010 hosts to the 2014 hosts knowing that barring a near miracle from Gordon Igesund, South Africa won’t be competing in Brazil in two years time. Remember, the winners of the 1996 African Cup of Nations couldn't even qualify for the last edition of the tournament. Let’s hope those 2010 World Cup legacy trust funds are spent wisely.
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