What next for Cape Town?

Millions of dollars has been spent on facilities for the World Cup but there seems little chance they will get much use

    There has been more than one World Cup taking place in Cape Town.

    Just a few kilometres away from the city centre, locals have organised what they're describing as the Poor People's World Cup, an event for all those who feel the official tournament is ignoring the needs of the masses.


    Jenny Lottering, who runs the Everton United Club, has views typical of those involved.

    "The government can find money for the World Cup, so how come they haven't got money for people living in poverty, people who are living in houses with leaking rooves? Why can't they build better houses for the people instead?"


    The event was taking place in the Cape Flats, right next door to Athlone stadium. It was renovated at a cost of $50m with a view to it being used as a training centre for World Cup teams. It has been used precisely twice.

    In a country where around 40 per cent of the population live on a couple of dollars a day, many are asking if $50m  for two training sessions really represents value for money.


    "The stadium is like a statue standing here," laments Clive van Wyk, one of the tournament organisers.

    "It's been standing here for months but no-one is playing on it. Unfortunately it's money wasted.

    "I think this World Cup has divided the people. We're not together anymore because we see opportunities being created for others but for us. How can this World Cup be for us?"


    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.


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