Monday, 12 July 2010

It's really over...

Today is the first day of 2010 that's not about the FIFA World Cup build up or football matches. What are we going to do? As a nation, are we left bereft, with the anticipation of nothing more in our future? Are we able to pat ourselves on our backs for a job well done? When will we know if it has been a success? What makes it a success? How did we do folks, how did we do?

First things first, I think we need to look internally, to ourselves for that evaluation. It isn't about what the rest of the world thinks, it is about what South Africa thinks. And from where I am standing, we did pretty darn well. But I would say that wouldn't I? So let me take you through my thinking...

Infrastructure and Organisation:
We got it up, we got it running and we HAD A PLAN if the wheels fell off. And they didn't. Despite all the naysayers the stadiums worked (and if you were lucky enought to attend a match at Soccer City you would know just what I am talking about), the transport worked, and the lights stayed on! We made it happen.

Crowd Control:
During the event there was not even one match disrupted by crowd violence and I believe our peacekeeping authorities (by this I mean the good old SAP) did a sterling job. We have shown the world that we are not about the stereotypes - this is not only a beautiful country, it is also filled with warm, welcoming people and incomparable experiences for those who venture forth onto African soil.

If you haven't heard the call of the vuvuzela by now, or at least heard about it, you obviously haven't watched a world cup match. I am proud to say South Africa really got behind this one. Even when Bafana Bafana was knocked out, we all chose new teams and kept on celebrating this fantastic carnival of football. Were we sad when Ghana was knocked out and we lost our last African hope? Of course, but we rallied again, and again..... it's in our soul as Africans to pick ourselves up, look for the best and keep on singing!

So, although it is really over, the legacy remains. This African World Cup has shown international audiences that we really can do it. It has shown Africans that we have what it takes. And it has shown South Africans that with a little goodwill and a lot of energy we can use an event like this to make a difference for everyone. Thank you FIFA for choosing us to host your 2010 event, we did you (and ourselves) proud.

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