After 10 years, South Africa still counting 2010 World Cup gain

“The first Fifa World Cup on African soil was by all accounts a major success for a number of reasons. We wanted it to be a human story of celebrating the African continent, and for it to rise above South Africa’s apartheid-era past and build on Nelson Mandela’s message of social cohesion and reconciliation.

“We wanted the tournament to contribute to the building of a new South African nation, and while major challenges for our people still persist, South Africa’s democracy has considerably strengthened over the last decade and the country has made considerable forward strides,” says South African Football Association President, Dr Danny Jordaan, who was the CEO of the 2010 Fifa World Cup Organising Committee South Africa.

“We celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 2010 Fifa World Cup at a very difficult time for our country and for the world, as we battle the devastating impact of the Coronavirus. It is important, though, even in these uncertain and difficult times to reflect on an event that brought joy, pride and smiles to the faces of all Africans who love football and who cherish the advancement of their continent.

We once again take the opportunity to thank South Africans, all Africans, Fifa, CAF and the global football community for their contribution to the success of the 2010 Fifa World Cup,” Dr Jordaan added.

While, agonisingly, an African nation came within just one penalty kick of reaching the Fifa World Cup semifinal stage for the first time in 2010, the exploits of ‘BaGhana BaGhana’ remain etched in the memory and Siphiwe Tshabalala’s stunning opening goal of the tournament still gives every African football fan goosebumps when they see it.

“The stadiums of the 2010 Fifa World Cup still stand as functional monuments to the 2010 Fifa World Cup. All stadia are still fully operational and deliver important services to football, well utilized by clubs in the Premier Soccer League, which has cemented its status as one of the top football leagues on the African continent and indeed in world football,” says Dr Jordaan.

The stadiums built for the purpose of the 2010 Fifa World Cup have ensured South Africa has become one of the world’s leading events destinations, having hosted major events such as the Global Citizen Festival, the Cape Town Sevens Rugby tournament, a rugby international between the Springboks and All Blacks which attracted the highest attendance ever for a rugby match in this country, as well as concerts by the likes of Guns ‘N Roses, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, U2, Cassper Nyovest, Black Coffee and many others.

The tournament also provided an important infrastructure boost for South Africa, buffering it to an extent from the effects of the 2008 global economic crisis. The country’s upgraded airports have led to increased capacity which has over the last decade enhanced South Africa’s tourism industry and economy.

The Gautrain, which opened just three days before the 2010 Fifa World Cup, has added convenience and efficiency to travel in one of South Africa’s key transport hubs.

The tournament had its own quirks, with the vuvuzela and the Jabulani tournament ball getting mixed reviews, while Paul the Octopus also made global headlines by correctly predicting the outcome of 12 out of 14 games of the tournament.

Paul correctly chose Spain as the winner of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, with Andres Iniesta’s winner in the final against Netherlands forever going down in the annals of Spanish and African football history.

Safa is calling on all football fans to share their memories of the 2010 Fifa World Cup on Safa’s social media channels, using the hashtag #my2010memories.