South Africa ex­cited about World Cup soc­cer

Seaway News - - EDITORIAL& OPINIONS - Sul­tan Jessa

For the next cou­ple of weeks, the eyes of the world will be sharply fo­cused on South Africa. This is the first time South Africa is host­ing the 2010 World Cup soc­cer. No other sport­ing event gal­va­nizes the globe as the World Cup.

Soc­cer is played in more coun­tries than any other sport. Al­most half the planet, or three bil­lion peo­ple watched the last World Cup soc­cer fi­nal.

This is the very first time the globe’s most thrilling sport­ing event is be­ing held in Africa. The event has helped to fuel the hopes, as­pi­ra­tions and dreams of the en­tire con­ti­nent. This pres­ti­gious event is be­ing held on the heels of the 50th an­niver­sary of pro­test­ers tak­ing a peace­ful stand against apartheid in South Africa.

South Africa has al­ready spent more than $5 bil­lion to host the soc­cer World Cup, in­clud­ing build­ing 10 world-class sta­di­ums. All signs in­di­cate this will be the most ex­otic World Cup on record.

By the time the fi­nal is staged on July 11 at Jo­han­nes­burg’s Soc­cer City Sta­dium, ev­ery­one will gain a lot of knowl­edge about South Africa and its gloomy past. The fur­thest an African nation has trav­elled at a World Cup is the quar­ter fi­nals. This was a game be­tween Cameroon and Italy in 1990. Eight years ago, Sene­gal also played against Italy in Korea/ Ja­pan. Since then Africans have taken the game even more se­ri­ously.

African play­ers are equal to play­ers from Italy, Bri­tain or even Brazil and Por­tu­gal. And there is op­ti­mism that soc­cer fans from ev­ery corner of the world will flock to South Africa to wit­ness this his­toric event.

This World Cup prom­ises to be spec­tac­u­lar. There are tales of op­ti­mism and joy among South Africans about this event.

For years now, the South African govern­ment has been tire­lessly work­ing to en­sure the World Cup will run smoothly and suc­cess­fully and also rel­a­tively crime free. This is a tall or­der. But, the au­thor­i­ties are de­ter­mined to en­sure there are no ma­jor prob­lems with crime. South Africa has a dis­mal record on crime and murder. Of­fi­cials say South Africa has in­vested $ 180 mil­lion in event se­cu­rity. As the host, South Africa has in­creased the po­lice force by 41,000 and has also in­sti­tuted a tough pol­icy to de­ter would be car­jack­ers, mug­gers, armed rob­bers and mur­der­ers.

An es­ti­mated 500,000 soc­cer fans have con­verged on South Africa for this class event. No other coun­try in Africa had all the fa­cil­i­ties to host this event.

South Africa is hop­ing the World Cup soc­cer will spur eco­nomic growth in their coun­try and will help cre­ate new jobs. One in four peo­ple are re­ported to be with­out jobs in South Africa to­day. South Africa has re­cently gone through a bad re­ces­sion.

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma has given re­peated as­sur­ances that the soc­cer event in his coun­try will be a big suc­cess.

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