Monday, July 5, 2010

Vancouver, Cape Town, fabulous déjà vu

Cape Town's main stadium cost around $500m to build. It will be run by a private company after the World Cup, and beyond one off events has no obvious sporting use.

No Cape Town football club has the support based required to use it , while cricket and rugby already have established grounds.

But the tournament has seen more than a million supporters from home and abroad pass through the city's fan fest sites.

Lesley de Reuck has spent the last three years project managing the city's World Cup plan and is adamant the investment has been worthwhile.

"As a destination and a nation we've shown the world we can deal with mega events in every facet. I think we've really proven a point beyond any doubt."

Many South Africans have also spoken of a renewed sense of national unity and patriotism being unleashed, but those analysing the event from a less emotive standpoint question just what the tangible benefits might be.

"If you look back historically, the investment at the very highest level of sport, and the World Cup is the pinnacle, very rarely filters down to the mass population," Ross Tucker of the South Africa Sports Science Institute said.

"Do our young players now have more opportunities? I don't see that happening as a result of six or seven new stadia that aren't really going to be used for soccer."

There is no question that this World Cup has been an organisational success in Cape Town.

But once the vuvuzella blowing stops, FIFA will be hoping there is more than just disenchantment left behind.