/ 9 September 2008

Jordaan dreams again of success

From Eastern Cape schoolteacher to chief executive officer of the 2010 World Cup bid — via a stint as an MP. That is how far Danny Jordaan has come in 20 years.

Many might have expected Jordaan to quit the bidding game after seeing South Africa lose by just one vote for the 2006 tournament, but he says: ‘The energy to go again comes from the ordinary people in the streets of South Africa, who have a dream of seeing Bafana Bafana play the opening game of the World Cup at FNB stadium.”

The 2010 bid will cost R80-million and Jordaan is confident that by April 30, when South Africa launches its bid in Cape Town, the money will have been raised. Already corporate giants such as Anglo American and Momentum have announced their support for the bid.

The formal launch will culminate in a number of games against countries South Africa is lobbying for support. Bafana Bafana will play against Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, England and Brazil.    

The other African countries bidding to host the World Cup are Nigeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Morocco. Any hopes of North or West African countries co-hosting the tournament have been shot down by world governing body Fifa.

Jordaan says this was due to the high costs of co-hosting the event as seen in South Korea and Japan last year. The Asian countries had to raise $30-billion to put in the necessary infrastructure and this is not feasible for an African bid.

The former anti-apartheid activist said that it was not possible to build new football stadiums by 2010.

However, soccer would utilise rugby and cricket stadiums that had already been upgraded as part of South Africa’s successful hosting of world cups in those sports.

‘We must move away from the notion that there are separate rugby and cricket stadiums. These stadiums should be used also for soccer so as to help them be profitable. We will look into making these stadiums

soccer-friendly and money made from them will be used to revamp old soccer stadiums,” says Jordaan.

The South African bid chief says there will be major difference between the 2006 bid and the current one. In 2000 (when the decision on the 2006 host was made) it was an international competition, with three continents vying for the rights.

The 2010 hosts will be from Africa, Fifa has decided. But the African bid is complicated by the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) refusal to support one country’s bid.

Jordaan is saddened by CAF’s indecision, saying: ‘We have to invest a lot of money to campaign to host 2010, while other federations like [South American federation] Conmebol have come out in support of Brazil for the 2014 world cup therefore providing focus on Brazil to build stadiums.”

The African challenge is complicated by the CAF elections next year in Tunisia and also the various African Union initiatives that will shape Africa in 2010.

The father of a 14-year-old son and 20-year-old daughter who is studying journalism at Rhodes University believes South Africa has a great opportunity of winning the bid this time round.

‘The good thing is that the 24 Fifa executive members are more or less the same people that voted last time and relationships created then will strengthen our bid, while those countries coming to bid now will have to establish relations.”

Another plus for the South African bid is that they have already secured one vote — that of Council of Southern African Football Association president Ishmael Bhamjee, who is one of the 24 voting members.

To save many African countries millions it would have been advisable for CAF to have endorsed one African country to host the tournament, but CAF has failed to do so just as it did in 2006 bidding process.

The South African government and business fully support the bid and this has helped make Jordaan’s job a little easier.

The former MP explained the roles of government and business in the bid: ‘Government had to provide guarantees on things such as visas; ensure currencies are available; safety and security; economic prospects of the country, health conditions, tax and many other things.” 

While business support of the event gives assurance to the football controlling body that the event will be profitable. Fifa is also interested in knowing from business why they think the world cup will be successful in the country.

The role of the South African Football Association (Safa) in the bid is to demonstrate that South African football has a vision, is important to the nation and is also growing. Local

government’s will be to provide infrastructure in areas where games will be played. 

In order to get the nod from Fifa, certain requirements that have to be met by the bidding countries, such as the need for them to have at least eight or 10 stadiums with a minimum capacity of 40 000 to 60 000 seated, accommodation in the different classes, transport, and security, extend to how commercially viable the tournament is economic prospects of the country and integrated information technology solutions.

All these things Jordaan and his team must be able to guarantee to Fifa if they are to win the bid.