To bid or not to bid!
After the euphoria of South Africa’s staging of a fantasticFIFA World Cup, just on a year ago, it was perhaps a natural reaction for manyto support the idea that South Africa should now bid for the Olympic (and Paralympic Games) in 2020. After all - we have proved to the world that we can rise to the challenge and could entertain anything thrown at us - surely if South Africa were to bid, it would be fait accompli?
Not so in my opinion! The Olympics, billed as “the greatest show on earth”, are simply a bridge too far and I agree and applaud both Government and SASCOC’s call not to enter the bidding fray for 2020.
I was proud to be a director on the Cape Town 2000 bid company and, as we learned in our failed quest to stage the 2000 extravaganzain the mother city in 2000, bids such as this are costly and can place hugeburdens on a country’s coffers. Not to mention the cost of staging the actualevent should you win the bid. Remember that the Olympics are a multi-sportaffair with many of the sports not really indigenous or familiar to SouthAfricans – certainly at an elevated level – and thus arenas and venues arebuilt sports specific and often become white elephants post the games.
And what of the logistics around the Paralympic Games? SouthAfrica cannot even cater for transport requirements or general facilities forour current disabled population – hmmm, think I will leave Ari Seirils tocomment and get heated on that score!
If South Africans are serious about bringing the Olympics tothe African continent, some dues need to be paid. It’s a good call to bid for,and stage, the Commonwealth and maybe a few other multi–sport events to gaugethe appetite and magnitude of these types of projects. Let’s remember too, onthe socio-economic side of life, our population-at-large have more pressingneeds and deserve housing, service delivery and, most importantly, jobs thatthey have been promised yet denied for so long.
Talking World Cup legacy – there is no doubt that the levelof local football has improved, even our beloved Bafana Bafana are starring onthe African front. Congratulations to Orlando Pirates on winning a very uniquetreble in the 2010 / 2011 season. The ABSA Premiership was a nail biter thatwent down to the wire, with any one of three teams technically in the running.On the final day of the league Pirates prevailed to compliment their TelkomKnockout title. A week later it was the Nedbank Cup and a gutsy performanceafter a hectic season saw them emerge victorious by ousting Black Leopards 3 –1 in a pulsating final.
The stadium was packed to the rafters and Nedbank are to becomplimented on sterling work with the PSL in taking the magnificent final to Nelspruit. Sports lovers in outlying areas are often starved and forgotten whenit comes to major events and the folks from Mpumalanga did themselves proud inevery way. My only sadness is that, once in the magnificent arena, there is noevidence that a FIFA World Cup was ever staged in South Africa, let alone games played, in this South African designed monument. In fact, the signage both inand out of the stadium is woeful - with most having been ripped off the wallsas souvenirs after the FIFA showpiece. Memories cannot be created, they arebuilt over time and if not maintained, they tend to die!
Cricket South Africa recently announced yet another cricketcoach, Gary Kirsten. Let’s hope that, together, they set a new ship afloat. Onethat will sail into the harbour of the next major tournament and, please lord,lets us win a trophy! I believe that the cricket talent in South Africa is inabundance and, with a really firm coaching staff,we will have the toolsin place to dominate the globe.
So it’s sport, sport and more sport! Whoo hoo, it’s lessthan 70 days to go until the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup! Roll on and Go Bokke!