World Tour

Well Done South Africa!

Johannesburg, South Africa – 13 July 2010

It was a long time in the making, but the first ever football World Cup was finally held in Africa. And the host country should be proud – well done to South Africa!

Why Sport Matters returned to South Africa, but this time with a different assignment — producing video reports for MLSSoccer.com as well as video fan research interviews. Click HERE to see all of John’s reports which appeared on Major League Soccer’s website.

The week leading up to the 11 June opening match saw a festive atmosphere throughout the country. The yellow colours of the Bafana Bafana (South African national team) were seen everywhere and hum from the celebrated vuvuzelas could be heard at all hours. Hope and happiness helped put the South Africans in a party mood, and it was incredible to see the rainbow nation finally coming together as one. Spirits were still high following the opening draw with Mexico. Why Sport Matters was at the heart of this passion at the official FanFest in Johannesburg and celebrated alongside about 10,000 South Africans (see video).

USA FansDay #2 saw one of the most highly anticipated matches of the first round. England opened their campaign against USA, the two countries with the highest number of fans who made the trip to South Africa. While taking place in the small town of Rustenburg, many fans did a day-trip from Johannesburg. One enterprising American organized a convoy of 7 buses to take over 350 fans (see photo) on the 3-hour trip to get to the match. Why Sport Matters was there, and filmed much of this YOUTUBE VIDEO on the experience of the US Soccer fan.

In Johannesburg fans gathered at social centres across the city, with the main one at Nelson Mandela Square in the Sandton District. Fans from all over came to blow horns and sing their songs before and after their teams’ matches. The square itself was taken over by SONY, who put up a giant tent with small theatre inside to display their 3-D technology for football (see photo). The 3-D images were one of the most talked about stories in South Africa, with everyone wondering if it will become the standard for the future.

Sony 3D TentJust outside of Johannesburg in the famous township of Soweto, the atmosphere was also a festival. Soweto served as the heart of the anti-apartheid movement, and football was the game of the masses in South Africa. Many of the Bafana Bafana players and football heroes for South Africa come from Soweto. Why Sport Matters was again on the scene, and watched the South Africa vs France match amongst the throngs at the FanFest in the middle of the township (see this YOUTUBE VIDEO we shot that day).

Though some of the atmosphere decreased once South Africa was eliminated, the football itself served up some great drama and story lines. While the African teams in general failed to impress, many of the traditional powers also found things difficult and were taken apart by the media, including Italy, and England and the debacle which was the French side. South America was the most successful continent as all of its 5 teams pushed through to the second round, with surprising semi-finalist in Uruguay. It looked as if Germany were to take the title after watching them trounce Argentina in the QF, but Spain picked up their game at the right time to ride all the way to the trophy presentation.

Table Mountain ViewAs it was winter time in the southern hemisphere, many of the matches took place in chilly conditions (eg Brazil vs Korea in Johannesburg). But Why Sport Matters made the trip to the warmer weather of Durban. This coastal city was host to many key matches, as well as the FIFA Master alumni gathering. It was great to see so many old friends, and John was happy to present the Why Sport Matters project to his colleagues during the workshop on entrepreneurship.

Why Sport Matters also spent some time in Cape Town where we filmed several stories from the mother city, including a VIDEO REPORT with Ethan Zohn and his organization Grassroot Soccer out in the Kayelitsha township. Cape Town also had a fun FanFest in the heart of the city, which also served as the starting point for the famous FanWalk, where fans marched to the Green Point stadium right through the heart of the city. Which made for an incredible atmosphere on match days. Down on the V&A Waterfront, a big screen was thronged with fans to watch the matches with a great view of the iconic Table Mountain (see photo).

John at Soccer CityBack in Johannesburg for the final, the Dutch and Spanish supporters brought added colour to the already amazing Soccer City stadium (see photo). The World Cup will leave a fantastic legacy for this country as it helps the entire continent of Africa gain deserved respect from the rest of the world. South Africa now has some of the top sporting stadiums in the world, the experience of running a major event, and the boost in confidence that it belongs amongst the world’s advanced countries. There was even talk of hosting a future Olympic Games as a next step. In any case, South Africa should be proud for hosting such an amazing event.

Here are a few video memories from the event:

Thanks goes out to Corne & Lize, Clay & Isabelle, Julio, Hicham, DB, Andres & Saulo, Paulo, Brett & Louise (see photo from the Argentina-Germany quarterfinal in Cape Town), and Tracy at Octagon.

John with Louise and BrettWhy Sport Matters returns to Australia for a short spell before beginning a long tour of the Asian continent. See the TRAVEL SCHEDULE for more info, and don’t forget to check out our dedicated pages on:

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