Afro-pessimism, says world soccer governing body Fifa, is affecting South Africa’s preparations for next year’s Confederations Cup and the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

But according to its director of communications and public affairs, Hans Klaus, “We are doing something about it.”

During a visit to Cape Town, Klaus said: “There is no doubt the media, particularly in Europe, are over-critical. We have a unique challenge to sell South Africa as it is.”

Klaus said a major campaign will see Fifa, the local organising committee and other 2010 role-players inviting and hosting foreign media representatives on a fact-finding trip to South Africa.

Afro-pessimism was reinforced when the former minister in the presidency, Essop Pahad, berated white South Africans for wanting to see the events fail.

The Project 2010 electronic newsletter said on Friday that the Human Science Research Council’s survey revealed that although white South Africans are worried about the success of the World Cup competition, they are nevertheless passionate about it, which gave the lie to Pahad’s statement made in Beijing during the Olympics.

Opposition political parties, the media and many ordinary South Africans have subsequently proclaimed their patriotism and support for 2010, the newsletter said.

Guy Lundy, a strategy consultant, said the real issue is that the average South African has not yet grasped the impact of this event. “When we look at other major sporting events, there is always a level of scepticism — all the things we worry about here. It goes with the territory. In the last year, building up to the tournament, the momentum will pick up.” — I-Net Bridge

PUBLICATION: Mail & Guardian Online
DATED: 3rd October 2008