- Title: SOUTH AFRICA: FOOTBALL/SOCCER: World Cup legacy lives on in South Africa
- Date: 13th June 2011
- Summary: CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (FILE - JUNE 2010) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF SOCCER FANS BLOWING VUVUZELAS AT FAN PARK DURING WORLD CUP MATCH VARIOUS OF SOCCER FANS WALKING TOWARDS STADIUM BEFORE WORLD CUP MATCH
- Embargoed: 28th June 2011 13:00
- Location: South Africa, South Africa
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Sports
- Reuters ID: LVA7XX3D8CLZ5FJH8NVBM3R39P62
- Story Text: One year after hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup, South Africa is hoping to create a legacy from what was billed as one of the most memorable World Cup events in history.
Hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world descended upon host cities and beyond, propelling South Africa as a leading sporting country and a highly attractive travel destination.
South Africans united in national pride and achieved the seemingly impossible in an effort to showcase their country in the best light.
More than a billion dollars was invested in preparation, which began in 2004, to create new and improve upon existing infrastructure.
In six years time, South Africa built two new stadiums and upgraded eight existing venues.
In Cape Town, the venue for the World Cup semi final match, the Green Point stadium was one of them.
Nestled between Table mountain and the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Town or the "Mother City" is South Africa's most visited cities and is said to be the country's most beautiful, amidst stunning scenery, winelands and a laid-back mood which attracts tourists from all over the world.
To maximise on the state of the art infrastructre and stadiums built for tournament, the city authorities have expanded the land around the stadium, to build the the Green Point Urban Park.
The 500 million rand (73.6 million US dollars) park offers an inner city escape to residents according to the city's officials, where walkaways, waters features as well as a biodiversity showcase that allows visitors and families to relax in botannical gardens.
Dr. Ivan Meyer, the provincial minister of cultural affairs and sport says the park was a sound investment in the people of Cape Town and in the city itself.
"I think this compliments the stadium but more importantly because many people have asked, you have now built and invested in the stadium in infrastructure, what is there left for us and I think the urban park through the city of Cape Town, we are now investing in people, with quality time with people and investment in people and the urban park is an investement in people and I'm really excited about it, its really time where people can sit back, reflect and have quality time," said Meyer.
In the build-up to the World Cup, many questioned the country's ability to stage such a high-profile tournament amid concerns about whether stadiums would be ready on time after strikes by workers.
The crime rate and traffic congestion were also concerns whilst a pay dispute involving stewards forced police to take over security at some stadiums soon after the matches began.
However, the month-long soccer extravaganza passed without any major incident and was declared a great success even though South Africa's football team became the first from a host nation not to get past the first stage of a World Cup.
One of the main legacy projects in Cape Town is the Khayelitsha Hope Project, which is a center that teaches disadvantaged young people how to play soccer and uses the sport to educate people about HIV/AIDS and other social challenges, using the facilitites from the World Cup.
"One of the things of the legacy project is the Khayelitsha Hope Project and part of that hope project was the soccer legacy so its for us important that we showcase what we are doing for people, post the World Cup," Meyer said.
Although analysts say the real benefits of holding the world's biggest single sporting event on the African continent for the first time will only be seen in years to come, today, South Africa has enjoyed one of its most exciting domestic seasons with bigger crowds flocking to iconic venues to watch games played on high quality pitches thanks to the facilities used for the 2010 World Cup.
- Copyright Holder: FILE REUTERS (CAN SELL)
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