What a fantastic World Cup! The tournament was one of highs and lows and many unexpected results. Spain were crowned the new World Champions at the final on July 11th but the real winners were undoubtedly South Africans themselves.
In an address the day the after the tournament ended, South African President Jacob Zuma cheerfully proclaimed,’ it feels really good to stand here before you today and say – we did it!’ In a speech filled with pride, resilience and determination the President praised not only his own nation of ‘humble, hospitable people’ but also the rest of the continent and the rest of the world; ‘we did it well, we did it successfully but we did not do it alone. We did it with Africa and with the support of the world’.
The event was also commended by FIFA President Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter who had ‘to give a big compliment to South Africa, its people and its government’. The sense of unity and pride exalted at this summer’s games are similar to the sentiments expressed during South Africa’s hosting of the ‘95 Rugby World Cup.
South Africa is resolute that the FIFA World Cup will leave a lasting legacy. In another speech held on the day of the final Zuma reaffirmed that his nation is striving to complete Millennium Development Goal Two, to achieve universal primary education through the Education for All initiative. ‘We are today using the power of football to promote the achievement of these goals because the status quo in education, especially in Africa, is cause for concern’, he said.
South Africa has a strong idea of where she wants to go and the government seems resolute on getting there. In our feature article ‘Mega Events Special: FIFA World Cup – What Next?’ we discuss the ways in which the country can continue to benefit from the event and ask Professor Leo Jago of the DeHaan Institute, Nottingham, about his thoughts on the issue.