Durban eyes 2020 after Cup success

2010-07-09 00:00

THE 2010 Fifa World Cup folded its tent in KwaZulu-Natal after Wednesday night’s semi-final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Only two games remain in the tournament and tomorrow’s third/fourth place play-off will be considered by many as largely insignificant.

The Fifa fan park on Durban’s beachfront is considered an astounding success, boasting the highest attendance figures for any fan park in the country for the duration of tournament.

Thousands of people enjoyed the semi-finals there and a similar atmosphere can be expected for Sunday’s final.

Even more successful was the performance of the Moses Mabhida Stadium itself, hosting seven World Cup matches with relative ease and gaining a reputation as one of the most majestic stadiums in the world along the way.

Were it not for a minor wage dispute that escalated after Moses Mabhida’s opening World Cup match, the stadium would surely have demonstrated a near faultless hosting of the tournament.

Residents of Durban and KwaZulu-Natal can look back with pride knowing they played a big part in the success of the province’s hosting of the spectacle.

Pubs and bars around Durban have done a roaring trade.

Florida Road had a carnival atmosphere after the semi-final on Wednesday night as celebrations continued way into the early hours of yesterday morning, with people from all over the world sharing stories.

A German fan said that while he was upset with his side’s loss, he has had an amazing stay in South Africa and will certainly return.

Similar sentiments were expressed by most foreign people who spoke to The Witness whenever there was a match in Durban.

Such positive reactions have lent weight to the notion that Durban should be considered as a possible venue for Olympic Games in 2020.

The 2010 marketing and communications director in the Office of the Premier, Claude Pretorius, told The Witness that the sort of coverage that Durban has received internationally is extremely encouraging.

“People have left us after being given a warm reception and they have been very impressed with what they have seen,” he said.

Pretorius added that he considered Durban to be more than capable of hosting the 2020 Olympic Games.

“2020 is definitely something that the city is looking at making a part of its mid-term plans.”

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