Monday, November 12, 2007
This isn't new news, but it's discouraging nonetheless.
Word is 2010 World Cup organizers are saying two of the stadium being built for the tournament face "very very tight" deadlines to be completed on time.
Is this cause for concern? Or just more non-news?
Every major construction project faces delays and overruns. Regrettably, the eyes of the world fall on South Africa and their staging of the 2010 Cup as an indication of Africa's business viability. I say regrettably because it feels like Africa's being tested with this Cup. 'Pop quiz, folks!'
It's a little unfair. Contingency plans weren't being talked about in 2004 while Germany faced their own delay worries en route to a smooth 2006 World Cup finals.
Regardless, these are the stakes. The stadium sites causing concern are in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth (mock-up pictured above).
"Things are on course generally, but with two stadiums the timelines are very, very tight," said Tim Modise of the tournament organizing committee.
As a result, plans for Port Elizabeth's Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium to host the 2009 Confederations Cup, a sort of mock-run of the Cup finals every hosting country stages, may be shelved.
The Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for the Cup is confident that it will be able to successfully deliver the tournament according to the schedule it has set for itself, says international affairs organizing committee communications manager Tumi Makgabo.
Consistent Euro-Afro-pessimism, in which many people doubt the capabilities of an African country to host a large-scale, world-class sporting event, is largely due to ignorance, Makgabo says, adding that the country has a good record of hosting major sporting events.
She accepts, however, that South Africa has not hosted an event of this magnitude before, but says that this does not mean that the country will not be able to host the tournament. Communication of information is the best way to overcome the pessimism, she says.
I fully expect South Africa to host a wonderful, successful World Cup. Why such pessimism from the football press? Let's give South Africa a chance, stadium delays or not.