n Commonwealth Youth and Development - The 2010 Fifa World Cup and nation building in South Africa : missing the goal post?

Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1727-7140



This article investigates the impact that the 2010 Soccer World Cup had on nation building in South Africa. The initial expectations were similar to that of the 1995 Rugby World Cup in that the success of the national team, Bafana, Bafana, would provide a stimulus to bridge the divisions in society in a process of nation building. The potential of sport to enhance nation building is explained with specific reference to the problem of ethnic-based support for sport in South Africa. It is also pointed out that sport has a rather limited capacity to achieve nation building and that it should be supported with more tangible support, such as socio-economic benefits to society. The article also emphasises that the financial legacy of the Soccer World Cup will be an obstacle in the way of locating more funds for socio-economic development, such as housing. However, the Soccer World Cup left a valuable legacy, because the success of the tournament reinforced the general belief and sense of achievement of all South Africans as a nation.

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