Most South Africans believe the country is ready to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup but not many feel optimistic about the national soccer team, a new survey shows.

At least 69 percent of South Africans were positive SA was ready to be cup hosts, according to research released on Tuesday by African Response.

However, only 38 percent of South Africans felt Bafana Bafana would be ready for the cup.

“This is undoubtedly related to their poor performance in 2007 and reinforced by their recent failure to qualify for the 2010 African Cup of Nations,” said company director Anina Maree in a statement.

Since March 2006, African Response had been surveying 1200 South Africans in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban about their opinions and awareness of the cup.

The November 2008 results released on Tuesday reflect data collected during April to June 2008.

Seventy six percent of respondents attached personal importance to the cup.

People from lower income groups attach the greatest personal importance to the event.

Eighty-five percent of those who earned less than R5 000 per month and 82 percent of those in the R5 000 to R9 999 income bracket said the event was personally important to them.

Of South Africans earning R10 000 and above, 69 percent attached personal importance to the cup.

“More than just being avid soccer fans, it is very likely that the lower income earners are hoping that 2010 will bring business opportunities and prosperity which will improve their financial situation,” said Maree.

Younger people also attach more importance to the event than older South Africans.

Seventy-nine percent of those aged between 16 and 34 said the world cup was important to them, compared to 62 percent of South Africans over the age of 50 who felt the same way.

Well over two-thirds of respondents believed infrastructure such as restaurants, telecommunications, information technology, airports, stadia and accommodation would be ready in time for the cup.

However concerns were raised about transport, safety and electricity demand.

Fifty-six percent or respondents believed roads would be ready and 61 percent felt the same way about public transport.

Less than half of the respondents, 49 percent, said policing and security would be ready.

South Africans were least confident that electricity supply would be ready for the cup, with just about a third of people saying they believed electricity supply would meet demand.

Just over half, 56 percent of the respondents, believed construction and development for the world cup would have a lasting effect on sports infrastructure in the country. – Sapa

DATED: 18th November 2008