Boy, did we need this world cup! After what seems like years of relentlessly bad news and mass negativity, we are suddenly proud to be South African again. And it feels fantastic.
And I don’t even like soccer. To tell the truth, I don’t really care who wins (although a Bafana victory would be wonderful, if unlikely). Instead, I just want the World Cup to go off smoothly and for everyone to have a great time.
Happily, this seems to exactly what’s happening. The doomsayers in the world press have been forced to eat humble pie and the Cassandras who live within our borders seem to be at a loss because all their dire predictions have failed to materialise, again. All I can say is ‘good for us’. We deserve this.
Without blowing my own vuvuzela, I would like to go on record as having been a firm supporter of the World Cup from its inception. I know that there are those who believe the money could have been spent in other arenas (and they aren’t wrong). I am also aware that the stadia are probably not going to be financially sustainable after the World Cup. But who cares? It’s the goodwill that’s important, both from a local and international perspective, and the positive publicity we are getting as a nation is invaluable.
Looking beyond July 11th, I only hope that we can keep up the momentum. The World Cup was an excellent deadline to work towards, but all the roadworks and infrastructural development needs to continue beyond the needs of our FIFA overlords so that we can build a modern country which is fully equipped to meet the demands of the 21st century.
So, let’s keep the extra courts set up to deal with crime during the world cup (which are already getting results). Let’s push ahead with improving our public transport systems. And, above all, let’s keep the flags flying from our cars and homes. We should cherish our new found sense of patriotism and unity. After all, it’s not about what we have accomplished – it’s about what we can achieve when we put our minds to it. IMHO.
[Originally posted 14/06/2010]