Special World Cup edition of The World Today on World Service
A special World Cup edition of The World Today, BBC World Service’s news and current affairs programme, will broadcast live from Soweto on Friday 11 June and will feature a number of pre-recorded interviews including: Dr Danny Jordaan, Chief Executive of 2010 FIFA World Cup organising committee, South Africa; Kofi Annan, the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations; Jérôme Valcke, the FIFA General Secretary, and Francois Pienaar, captain of the first South African rugby team to win the World Cup.
The programme will also feature live interviews with former Nigerian International Taribo West, former Cameroon International Patrick Mboma and Mark Fish, a former South African International and ambassador for the 2010 tournament. The programme will be presented by Komla Dumor and Ros Atkins.
Below are quotes from the pre-recorded interviews. Please credit BBC World Service if using any of this material. Interviews by Komla Dumor and Ros Atkins for The World Today.
On the question of how important the World Cup is to Africa: "I think it’s a big event for Africa, not just South Africa, it’s an African World Cup and I think it’s going to showcase the continent – some of the positive things that are happening here, because the media doesn’t always carry the positive stories.
“But there are lots of positive things and I hope, this time, they will look around and write about it. But I think it’s also going to encourage young people to take care of their body and mind. And there are skills you learn on the on the soccer field, it stays with you for the rest of your life – I can talk from my own experience”.
On the question of whether this is Africa’s World Cup, or just South Africa’s: "It is South Africa but it is also the continent. The continent has an opportunity to showcase its players – they played a lot in Europe.
“Our best players are playing in Europe and elsewhere but they will be playing on this continent and they come from all over the continent – they are not all South Africans. And the world will become alleged to the sporting developments on this continent and it will open up the continent and I hope that we will also be able to retain some of our good players at home and develop our own soccer championships – because it’s wonderful to bring great players together at the time of the competition but it’s the teamwork, it is when they stay together and play together week in and week out together that you really create that solid team, and I hope this will even help us build a deeper and a broader base where, whilst we can have players playing outside the continent, that we develop good talent and retain them at home, too”.
On the question of whether the World Cup will be overshadowed by wider issues across Africa: "No, this is also going to put the spotlight on some of these issues that you’ve raised. I recall during the 2006 World Cup as Secretary General I did a notepad piece, you may still find it on the net, saying I’m jealous of FIFA, saying that every four years it gets the whole world to focus on soccer ball.
"And each citizen follows his or her team and knows exactly what they did to get to where they were and everyone competes. I said I would love to see a situation where we do that for other issues, that once every four years or five years we compete on human rights, good governments, economic development, which countries are doing better, what they did to get there and what can we learn from that? You know, and really compete ... in fact, we are going to the Africa progress panel.
“It’s hoping to come up with a document which would compare the countries playing in the soccer match – let’s say Ghana is playing Germany, or Australia, for that matter, we’ll come up with a comparative chart showing where they stand in terms of GDP, the size of the economy, where their educations standards are and really also compare that as well to World Cup people and get them to see the disparities that we need to work on and the differences we need to breach”.
On the question of how important it is for African teams to do well: “No, no, I’ll be very excited. I want to see the African teams do well and if it’s not Ghana in the finals I will root as hard for any African team that makes it to the finals. This is our chance and let’s surprise the world”.
On the question of how the World Cup will benefit ordinary South Africans: “You see you must remember where we come from. We come from a history of one, a divided country, a long struggle between apartheid and those of us who fought against apartheid – essentially between black and white in this country. And how do you bind the country together, how do you get the common folks a shared vision and a shared project? And the World Cup has become that – you cannot pay money for that”.
On the question of whether football is helping to close racial and economic divisions: “It is closing the gap between black and white, the question of the gap between rich and poor is an economic issue and unfortunately this world cup will not be able to do that”.
On the idea that the World Cup was sold to many South Africans as an opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty: “The infrastructure programme in delivering the infrastructure for the event has created 412,000 jobs – it did make a difference. But, from 2008, we had a serious economic crisis and that impact was lessoned on the people of this country because of the projects that we had to complete for the world cup. So yes, we have not moved completely out of the crisis and the impact it had on our economy but there is improvement and I think we would have been worse off had we not had the world cup.”
On the question of whether this is Africa’s, or South Africa’s, World Cup: "You see the key issue is that we have a platform, we are 400 broadcasters and 15,000 journalists. It’s about telling a different story on the continent that the continent, too, is a place for investment, for trade and business.
“So people are looking at Africa and so we will just work together to continue to tell a different story not only outside Africa and the African continent – it’s about rebranding, repositioning, reimaging of the continent. We don’t only need the World Cup, we have to put the African continent central.”
On the question of whether the stadiums in South Africa are the best ever seen in a World Cup: "Ah, yes, definitely. I mean if you compare, if you take the number of stadiums we got in the past World Cups and the number of great stadiums we have here in South Africa for the 2010 World Cup, definitely South Africa is above all the countries.
“I mean, South Africa is a new benchmark in the organisation of the World Cup but now the main question is it’s great to have the nicest car, it’s great to have the latest Ferrari in your hands but you need to know how to drive it and that’s where we are”.
On whether FIFA takes any interest in what happens after the World Cup in South Africa:
"It’s part of our responsibility. I mean, you cannot just bring, or give, an event to a country, which means quite a lot of investment for the country, as some investment for FIFA – I mean, FIFA is spending a bit more than a billion US for this World Cup – without thinking what’s next.
"I mean if the idea is that we can leave the country and we do not care about what will be said after the World Cup, it’s completely the wrong idea. I mean, we are definitely interested and we’ll be working with South Africa, with the South African Football Association to ensure that there is a legacy. And the legacy, I mean, is definitely something we can do when we are talking about football – it’s making sure that the profit or the money made from this World Cup by South Africa will be used in grass root programmes. But, also, it’s important that we work together to ensure that the use of the stadiums will be there, that they will not become white elephants, that, I mean we are working not only in South Africa but also in all Africa. We say one dream. If it’s not a dream, at least it’s a wish.
“For all football, South African or African players, the dream is not to fly to Europe, to play in one of the European teams, but that they can find in Africa a ground to play football. So working on creating professional leagues, working on making sure there are the infrastructures, that there are pitches, etc, which are ready for them to play in their own country”.
On the issue of sporting infrastructure in other African countries: "Yes, but I mean that is where we are working on, and we have been working since May 2004, through the programme Winning Africa and values programmes with the programme with Africa.
"We are working on the professionalisation of football and we are working on making sure that all these football academies that you have in Africa are registered and that there is no more child traffic around the continent.
“We are working on many many things to ensure that we protect the kids, that we create football structure, that we give again a chance in Africa to have not the stadiums you have today in South Africa but at least one great stadium per country, with a great pitch, where the national team and values teams can play and can play real football and that’s definitely the goal. I mean more than that when we are talking about the legacy I know that one of the main questions is do you think that all South Africans will benefit from the World Cup? All, I think it’s impossible but a quite large number definitely, yes”.
On the issue of race in the South African sport scene: "Fifteen years on, has enough been done? I don’t think so, you know, and certain areas I do think so but I think you can never… I don’t think you can ever reach the ultimate goal and I don’t know what that is, you know, people need to explain to me what is the ultimate goal? Is it that all the players that are playing for the Springbocks would be black players? Or is it that there would be a nice mixture? Or is it that you know you would pick people on merit? So once, once you understand what the goal posts are then you can, you can kick the ball towards it.
On the question of whether the whole South African population will be happy to support “New South Africa” and the national team during the World Cup: "I’ve seen people that would never have followed soccer wearing the Bafana Bafana shirt because they realise that it’s not only in support of the team but it’s in support of South Africa and indeed being proud to be a South African and an African, because it’s the first time that such a major event has come to the continent.
“So there has been a grand swell of support. Obviously, if the team is successful, the grand swell will even be bigger”.
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