African business, politics and lifestyle
How will South Africa handle the World Cup?
International football body FIFA expects about half a million fans to come to South Africa for the World Cup, which starts a year from now.
The country is experiencing its first recession in 17 years but it is hoped that the
infrastructure being built for the World Cup and the expected influx of tourists will give the economya boost.
Ten stadiums have been set aside for the games. Those being built will be finished by February next year. There have been plenty of challenges, and delays in construction even led to rumours that FIFA would move the tournament elsewhere.
While fans want to come to South Africa, the country’s high crime rate is worrying. About 50 people are murdered here every day, and between 2007 and 2008 there were more than 36,000 rapes. So South African police are being trained to protect people during the World Cup.
Senior Superintendent Vish Naidoo told Reuters Africa Journal: “We are working very closely with Interpol. They are in the process of establishing what is called a dangerous and disruptive persons data base which will assist us in identifying people that may pose a potential danger to the tournament as far as organized fighting and hooliganism is concerned.”
At a bus terminus in Cape Town — a spot that has become notorious for muggings — people were worried about crime.
“I know and understand that it’s not only about crime, you’re not only looking at getting robbed and things like that,” said Brian Lybaba Lontantana. “But it’s a big issue, and in our communities I don’t think it’s been addressed properly. That’s one major problem. I don’t know what are the steps in place to tackle crime. I don’t know what’s put down as far as crime is concerned. But I am worried about the people that’s going to come and watch the World Cup.”
Many Africans are proud that the games are being held on the continent.
“It’s a source of great pride for the continent to host the World Cup, said soccer fan Jerome Kamenan Kanga in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. “This shows how much African football has progressed over the years.”
Before the World Cup South Africa must first host the Confederations Cup this month. Teams such as Italy, Spain and Brazil will be in the country to compete.
For many, the Confederations Cup will show whether South Africa can indeed handle the World Cup.