On the day that the 2014 football world cup kicks off across the Atlantic in Brasil our local hacks have decided to publish a (in their opinion) damning report card on the “shambles” FIFA left behind right here in the Eastern Cape back in 2010
Well, it aint my opinion.
I love our new stadium.
I use the ‘new’ roads and those upgraded (widened and resurfaced) on a daily basis.
The upgrade to our little airport and it’s infrastructure was long overdue.
And as for the cost to the city? I couldn’t care less, those who think that the money spent on maintaining the stadium (R13.2 million) would have been spent on welfare , housing or other developments, think again. It just meant less Mercs and overseas junkets for the elected few.
In 6 months of Super Rugby over 300,000 people attended the stadium to support / watch our E.P. Kings, that R13.2m equates to less than R50 per supporter! Not to mention the huge support when the Boks and World 7’s play here.
Less money in the ratepayers pot to be stolen and squandered.
My mates and I still reckon that those 30 days in 2010 were perhaps one of the best months of our lives!
I’ve reprinted the article for those interested in what the damning report had to say …
THE grand legacy left behind in Nelson Mandela Bay after Fifa packed their bags at the end of the 2010 soccer World Cup, is in tatters. Today, four years after the South African showpiece, upgraded stadiums are still underused and a multimillion-rand hospital upgrade has done little to improve health services, a transport system is in ruins, and a police emergency call centre is unused and shrouded in controversy.
Most of these projects came with a bill of more than R1-billion, with thousands of people pinning their hopes on Fifa improving their lives.
Independent researcher on soccer development Dr Dale McKinley likened the World Cup to a drug.
“The build-up and the event itself gave everyone this massive high. Soccer is globally popular, and everyone got swept up in the hype and the national pride.
“Unfortunately, coming down from that high is never pleasant. When things returned to normal a few months after the tournament, only then did we realise the damage that was done.”
Even Errol Heynes, former executive director of the 2010 World Cup in Nelson Mandela Bay, admitted this week the endowment was not as great as they had hoped.
“Our stadium was completed first, and our part of the tournament was a huge success. But some of the legacy projects Fifa left behind were a major disappointment.”
The Herald’s in-depth review of the international sports giant’s legacy comes as the 2014 World Cup kicks off in Brazil tonight.
Adding to the legacy ruin, hundreds of volunteers still feel used after working for a month during the tournament and not managing to secure permanent jobs afterwards.
The Nelson Mandela Stadium, a beacon of Fifa’s legacy in the Bay, has still not been able to show a profit.
Heynes said there had been concerns about the stadium’s financial sustainability right from the start, and plans that were put in place to provide additional income were never properly implemented.
“The stadium was meant to provide a portion of its own passive income, bringing in money without having to host huge events. Things like shops selling sports
goods in the stadium, that were planned from the beginning, could have contributed to this,” he said. According to Heynes, a 400-page report, about the successes and failures of the World Cup in the Bay, was compiled by his team, but it was never presented before the city council.
“The points raised in that report could have gone a long way in identifying flaws in planning, and ways to fix certain failures. Successful strategies were also noted, and could have been duplicated, as I firmly believe success breeds success.
“Unfortunately that report, for some reason, never saw the light of day.”
Heynes said the World Cup did not leave the city completely empty-handed.
Safety and security was one of the major positive points, as this department’s R130-million budget was put to good use, buying city-wide CCTV equipment, mobile operations centres and employing 20 permanent firemen.
And even though many facilities were not properly managed, the infrastructure was in place and could be a success if run properly.
SA Football Association (Safa) Nelson Mandela Bay regional president Monde Mhletywa said venues like the Gelvandale and Zwide stadiums would be ideal for housing soccer teams from various leagues once the sport really took off in the Bay.
Safa Eastern Cape chairman Mzimkhulu Fina said the 2010 tournament went a long way to eradicate negative perceptions of South Africa. “It changed the landscape of the country and destroyed the negative mentality among those foreigners who doubted our capability,” he said.
KwaNobuhle and Despatch Football Association president Andile Funani said they were led to believe that they, too, would benefit from legacy projects in the form of coaches along with equipment, which many were still waiting to receive.