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July 21, 2010
The impact of the World Cup on South Africa

A NATION UNITED BY THE WORLD CUP Football fans throng in the centre of Sandton as they wait for for a parade by the South Africa national team Bafana Bafana, on June 9, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Tens of thousands of people came out to celebrate the soccer World Cup. (Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)
by Gerald Alexander, AIPS Member South Africa

DURBAN, July 21, 2010 - Having reported on World Cup Tournaments since Italy in 1990 I received the news of South Africa being awarded the 2010 tournament with mixed feelings.

Part of me was elated and excited, the other part was apprehensive and nervous. The second part because I have been through the ``changes`` in the country since the change of Government and there is a lot wrong with various different
Government and Municipal Departments. In short, I had no confidence.

However, having been through it by going to watch five games in Durban plus attending various FIFA and AIPS functions I am still eating my Humble Pie.

The World Cup brought the Nation together more than anything else in our history. People showed that they were proud to be part of it in many different ways; from hanging different country flags on their property and motor cars to wearing Bafana Bafana shirts on Football Fridays. Business played a major role with shops and premises decorated in all sorts of different ways. Everyone was talking constantly about it, from the young to the older folk.

Everyone went out of their way to present a positive, welcome feeling towards each other and the many visitors who came to our country. I never saw one unpleasant incident. Everyone was helpful and polite. Somehow even the criminals ``took time off`` and this alleviated a major concern for many locals.

Fans from other sports including rugby also got very involved, such was the general feeling of excitement and wanting to be part of all that was happening. Personally I was very impressed with everything that was done at Government and
Local Authority levels.

As a born and bred Senior South African Citizen I felt proud of the country's achievement. To benefit further from this massive experience all the top people from both Government and the Private sector need to hold post 2010 review meetings. These meetings must be held with one thing in mind, learn from the experience and implement change where necessary. The country will benefit in many different ways from the experience, not everything that was done was successful. If the decision makers do not maintain the momentum it will just have been a very expensive party
which everyone enjoyed. We must not let it slip back into the old habits and ways. If this is allowed to happen it will be very sad because, as many people found out, we have a beautiful country with many assets and most importantly, we found, we can all live together and move forward.

The 2010 World Cup was a platform and if positively used can launch the country to a much higher level benefitting all it`s citizens and the visitors who come to our land.

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