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This image was taken during the 2010 world cup: Portugal vs. Korea DPR, at the Cape Town stadium in Greenpoint, Cape Town, South Africa. Photographed by: Imran Abdurahman
There has been much uproar about football development in South Africa. The history of football in our country may be the primary causal factor of where its development is today. The 2010 FIFA world cup might have portrayed South Africa as a developed country, capable of hosting such large events, but did we consider our own football development in the process? 
The presence of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) is owed to the
tribulations that football development has endured in South Africa. Some of
these difficulties were triggered by the commotion of apartheid. 

In 1882, the first football association was established. It was
composed of four clubs but these were only for white players. Within a year, the
league grew from four clubs to ten. This is because during this stage
interracial sport was prohibited by law. The South African Football Association
(SAFA) was introduced in 1892, initially known as the Football Association of
South Africa (FASA) in 1956. This too was a whites only association at that
time. 

In the early 1900s, several new associations were established to
represent all other South African racial groups apart from white people. 
This led to more South Africans being able to professionally play the sport,
regardless of their race. Moreover, the Indian, Black and Coloured associations
began competing against each other in what was known as the Suzman cup.
Thus, males of every race who wanted to
participate in the divine game could receive the opportunity to do so. 

Later in the mid-1900s, the South African Soccer Federation was
formed by the Coloured, Indian and Black associations in protest against
apartheid. This federation continued from 1951 until 1964 when it was banned by
the government. A while after the struggle, in December 1991, the South African
Football Association was finally united on an integrated, non-racial basis. This
produced a powerful foundation for the present day soccer development in South
Africa.

Soccer development before and after the 2010 FIFA World
Cup


Now in the 21st century, before the 2010 Soccer World
Cup was held in South Africa for the first time, almost all the focus was placed
on tourism and developmental strategies were predominantly for the purpose of
income. From new buildings and hotels, to the lush construction and
  transformations of soccer stadiums and fan parks, citizens were impregnated
  with soccer information and excitement that spread throughout the country. 

After the long awaited count down, it finally kicked off,
starting with the lyrical out-ringing of Shakira’s mesmerising voice in the
  official 2010 World Cup song: “Waka Waka”. Anticipated South Africans were
  tired of waiting and anxious to see what was in store. During the World Cup,
I’m sure everyone in South Africa, both foreign and local, had an incredible
  experience. Uniting the nation included vuvuzelas that were way too loud, CBD’S
  packed with tourists and fan parks teeming with those who were not in the
  stadium, at bars, at reastaurants or at home watching the game. Traffic jams
were frequent in and around the city, shuttles, trains and taxies were the most
  profitable and efficient modes of transport. 

But what happened to the development of soccer after the World
Cup? Or, more accurately, what didn’t happen? The Bafana Bafana soccer
teams in South Africa have been unsuccessful in qualifying for significant
competitions, in 2010, and in 2011, they fell short of earning a place in the
2012 African cup of Nations. However, South Africa does have three major soccer
leagues filled with almost two million players that gain an enormous amount of
spectators. These leagues referred to are the: PSL, First National Division and
the Vodacom League. 

The Cape Town stadium that was built exquisitely for the 2010
FIFA world cup has since been used for a few Premier Soccer League matches in
2011. Additionally, Bafana Bafana played two sold out matches this year. This
stadium was built for soccer but some teams cannot afford to use it. The Athlone
stadium suits the lower income residents as they can afford to watch a soccer
game there. The recent predominant use of the Cape Town stadium has been for
major concerts such as Lady Gaga, Linkin Park, U2 and Red Hot Chili Peppers.  

A large sum of money is invested in the development of soccer in
South Africa, but the public hardly knows what all this income is used for.
Spokesperson Thole Somdaka stated that "If football, our main sporting code, is
to truly belong to the nation, we must have some public accountability by SAFA,
not only on finances, but on programmes and how such programmes assist this
organisation in performing." This leads to the question: if soccer is our main
sporting code, why does SAFA report so little information to the media? And
should soccer not be the sport that we, as South Africans, excel in
predominantly?

 


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