13 March 2009
South Africa’s 2010 Fifa World Cup Local Organising Committee (LOC) is back on the ropes – this time over its perceived failure to promote the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup, which takes place in less than 100 days’ time.
Visiting Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke lashed out at the LOC last week for the lack of signage for the key 2010 curtain-raiser.
Fair comment, perhaps, but once again it’s not the whole story. LOC marketing boss Derek Carstens argues that this all just a matter of timing, with campaigns planned to become more visible towards the end of the month, when the impact will be strongest.
Either way, this is an opportune time to gauge the effectiveness of the marketing for both tournaments. The good news is that every southern African country (floundering Zimbabwe included) has 2010 task teams and plans in place to capitalise on the showpiece of international football.
Shortly after South Africa was awarded the rights to host the tournament, Fifa got the ball rolling with various initiatives, including the “Win With Africa, In Africa” campaign that now reaches most corners of the continent. So far, 42 of the planned 53 state-of-the art synthetic pitches have already been built.
Other initiatives of the legacy projects for Africa include “Silencing the Guns”, which is aimed at facilitating the replacement of guns with radios, and “My Game is Fair Play”, an initiative to mobilise politicians to sign an undertaking based on fair play principles.
Next week, Bafana legends Phil Masinga and Mark Fish will join a “2010 Peace Africa caravan” to mobilie support in several African countries for both tournaments.
In Berlin, South Africa’s World Cup preparations have been under the spotlight at this week’s Internationale Tourismus Borse, the global industry’s leading trade show, where South African Tourism has been hosting the “SA – Wired for 2010” stand.
Back home, the “My 2010 School Adventure” roadshow, which aims to promote both education and participation in football, visits Mafikeng this week.
And, of course, there are thousands of other development initiatives that are quietly taking root that don’t receive any media coverage.
The critical issue is that the 2010 revolution will envelop the entire country and the rest of the continent, and ensure that Africa is viewed in an entirely different light when the world’s biggest party leaves these shores in 16 months.
Urquhart is a former Fifa World Cup media officer and the current editor of Project 2010