Sunday, July 02, 2006

2010 World Cup pessimism

For some reason, a lot of people I've spoken to seem to think that South Africa won't be able to handle the 2010 World Cup. The media has picked up on this meme. I just don't understand why there is so much pessimism.

South Africa is not the first third-world country to host the championships.

The 2002 World Cup was held in South Korea, which is technically still at war with North Korea.

The government seems to have been asleep at the transport policy wheel in the last few years, but four years is enough time to start working on the issue. While it is obvious that we have transport problems, in a worst-case scenario, I'm sure that a temporary fix could be thought up in time for the few weeks of the World Cup.

Crime can also be stabilized and reduced, if the government developed the will to carry out its primary obligation - the protection of its citizens.

It is possible, but highly unlikely, that political instability could be a problem in 2010.

I just don't understand why there is such a surprising degree of pessimism around the 2010 World Cup. I see the challenges it presents as a way of shaking up arrogant and unaccountable parts of the government, and as presenting a great opportunity for improving South Africa. Losing the World Cup after it was awarded to us would be a disastrous vote of no-confidence in South Africa that simply cannot be allowed to happen.