n Commonwealth Youth and Development - Taking stock of the 2010 FIFA World Cup : did it live up to expectations of being "the African World Cup"?

Volume 9, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1727-7140



The 2010 International Federation Association Football (FIFA) World Cup held in South Africa was a chance of a lifetime not only for South Africans, but for the entire African continent. The hosting of such a huge tournament also presented the opportunity for many Africans to watch their favourite stars live in action. The tournament was accordingly and befittingly dubbed the African World Cup (Mathala 2010). This article aims to establish if the much-loved 2010 FIFA World Cup, held for the very first time on the African continent, lived up to the expectations of being a truly African World Cup in terms of attendance. The main finding of this paper is that many Africans, even those from neighbouring Southern African countries failed to attend the tournament in huge numbers as expected because of their failure to secure necessary travel documents from their respective countries. South African national laws, regulations and other immigration practices that inhibit the free movement of people (especially the stringent visa requirements) also had a negative impact on attendance by other Africans. All this was happening despite the Southern African Development Community (SADC) having initiated efforts since June 1995 to formalise the free movement of persons in Southern Africa. This paper argues that this legal instrument should have been the catalyst for facilitating the free movement of persons in Southern Africa during the 2010 FIFA World Cup (Saurombe, 2011); thus creating the opportunity for a truly African World Cup in terms of attendance. Instead, this legal instrument has been gathering dust, with most SADC countries failing to ratify it. The paper concludes with recommendations that the SADC states should implement agreed protocols and policies on the free movement of persons and make life easier during future tournaments, especially now that South Africa will host the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament (Vanguard, 2011).

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