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Published on 12 May 2011

Final FIFA Barometer - "Yes, we can"
By Andries Botha
21 Jul 2010

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South Africans (and the world) can take a lot of heart from the tournament. Financially, it was a non-event for South Africans, but it gave Afro pessimism a huge slap in the face. An African country hosted the world's biggest sporting event without breaking a leg. What can we take forward from this event?

We need to trust ourselves in future. It was not necessary to pawn the crown jewels for this event and be bullied by a megalomaniac FIFA into spending over R15 billion on new stadiums. A revamp of Kingsmead and Newlands/Athlone would have been adequate and would have cost far less.

Why should we as a "third world"� country build stadiums to squeeze in more spectators than what the previous World Cups had to offer, while everybody predicted less tourism as a result of distance and what other excuses the Afro pessimist world thought off.

The Olympics is now looming. Yes, we can. But can we afford it, again? New athletic stadiums plus facilities for all the other disciplines will cost probably a little bit less that what we coughed up for the soccer, because there is very little in terms of sporting facilities we can take forward to the Olympics.

Plan now for an Olympic stadium - on the Highveld - to be used afterwards as a Diamond league stadium. Convert Soccer City into an Olympic stadium. And don't fall for the story that it cannot be done. It can. There is enough space to eat away a 25 - to 35 meter space around the perimeter of the soccer field to allow for a track. The height above sea level will ensure that the Usain Bolts and Tayson Guys of the world would come to establish new world records.

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