SPORTS WEDNESDAY, juNE 30, 2010
How Nelson Mandela won the Cup for South Africa
South Africa captain Francois Pienaar receives the William Webb Ellis Trophy from Nelson Mandela. (dpa) Anti-apartheid campaigner and later South African President Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie celebrate Mandela’s release
from prison after 27 years of incarceration. (dpa)
JOHANNESBURG: Would the football inspire the final story against apartheid,” Man-
World Cup be taking place in South Africa this dela reminded FIFA, referring to FIFA’s expul-
year if it weren’t for Nelson Mandela? sion of apartheid South Africa from its ranks
FIFA president joseph Blatter didn’t seem in 1976, the year of a bloody crackdown on
to think so when he read out the name of the student demonstrators in Soweto township.
winning bidder in Zurich on May 15, 2004. On Robben Island, the prison off Cape
“You are the true architect of this FIFA Town, where he spent 18 of his 27 years be-
World Cup; your presence and commitment hind bars, “football was the only joy to prison-
made it happen,” Blatter said, handing over ers,” Mandela continued. That wasn’t entirely
the trophy to a smiling, snowy-haired Mandela true. Some prisoners had also enjoyed a game
after the announcement that South Africa had of rugby, or, in Mandela’s case, a spot of tennis,
secured the mammoth event on its second at- gardening or chess.
tempt. For Mandela, who had stepped down But football did have a special place on the
as president five years earlier but still enjoyed island, as the sport of the black majority whose
huge influence, FIFA’s decision was a ringing controlling body brooked no racists. Football
endorsement of his leadership. games on the island were played according to
Within 10 years of the demise of the racist FIFA rules and prisoners crowded around ra-
apartheid regime, the Rainbow Nation, which dios to listen to the World Cup.
he had guided to democracy, was being entrust- A slew of sporting sanctions, which saw
ed with hosting the world. “I feel like a young South Africa barred from all major sporting
man of 15,” Mandela, who was 85 at the time, tournaments, stung the apartheid state and
said, obviously delighted. piled pressure on the regime to negotiate its
The African National Congress stalwart had exit from power.
campaigned vigorously for the tournament, be- In February 1990, former president FW
lieving that the key to reconciling blacks and de Klerk suddenly announced he was uncon-
whites in South Africa lay in forging a common ditionally releasing Mandela and unbanning
identity - a goal that could be advanced by cre- the ANC. Within four years an ANC-led gov-
ating shared moments in sport. ernment was in power and South Africa had
It was a formula he had tested with great ceased to be “the skunk of the world,” in the
success when South Africa hosted the Rugby words of Mandela.
World Cup in 1995, a year after the country’s In recent months, however, there have
first democratic elections. uS director Clint been ominous signs. Tensions have resurfaced
Eastwood’s 2009 film Invictus retraces the between conservative whites and black nation-
story of how Mandela rallied blacks in sup- alists, with both sides showing signs of disil-
port of the ultimately victorious home side, the lusionment at the slow pace of post-apartheid
Springboks, as a gesture of goodwill towards transformation. The moderate majority is look-
rugby-loving whites. The roles were reversed ing to the World Cup to rekindle Mandela’s
the following year when the mainly black na- The entrance to Robben Island prison where Mandela was locked up for 27 years. (dpa) legacy of forgiveness and reconciliation.
tional football team lifted the African Cup of In a tribute to the elder statesmen, who
Nations. launch a credible bid for the World Cup. De- pledged to support South Africa, suddenly ab- come. South Africa is ready.” This time around, will turn 92 a week after the final on july 11,
By 2000, thanks to Mandela, South Africa spite Mandela personally canvassing coun- stained from the vote. Mandela was leaving nothing to chance. President jacob Zuma in February called on his
had accumulated enough experience in host- tries for votes, South Africa narrowly lost out Four years later, South Africa bounced “It is 28 years since FIFA took its stand countrymen to make the World Cup a success
ing major sporting tournaments to be able to to Germany after New Zealand, which had back with a new bid entitled “Africa’s time has against racially divided football and helped to “in his (Mandela’s) honor.” -dpa
Cape Town Stadium all about Location, location, location
Name: Cape Town Stadium diums, being built in a predominantly white area far from glass mesh that guards against light pollution. Cup stadium has it in spades. The 66,000-seater stadium is
City: Cape Town the townships where most football lovers live. At 4.5 billion World Cup visitors will probably try to integrate Cape nestled at the base of Cape Town’s iconic flat-topped Table
Construction: new rand (580 million dollars), it was also the most expensive Town into their trip but its remoteness makes it a poor base Mountain, a few hundred meters from the Atlantic Ocean in
Completion: 2009 but also the most technologically advanced. The stadium for games in other cities. It is 769 kilometers from the near- the Greenpoint neighborhood.
Gross Capacity: 66,005 has a retractable glass roof and a facade of stretched fiber- est other host city of Port Elizabeth Cape Town’s new World The stadium has hosted seven World Cup games, and
will include the much awaited match between Argentina
CAPE TOWN: Cape Town: Nicknamed the Mother City, and Germany on Saturday followed by a semifinal match
Cape Town is South Africa’s oldest and most spectacular in on july 6, 2010.
terms of setting, with the iconic, flat-topped Table Mountain It’s not the biggest of the 10 stadiums but it has the big-
at its back and white sandy beaches splayed at its feet. The gest price tag of 4.5 billion rand (616 million uS dollars).
first Dutch settlers landed in Table Bay in 1652, and built a That’s more than Beijing’s Bird Nest. Cape Town’s 2010
settlement there to supply ships en route from Europe to the manager Pieter Cronje says the stadium’s spectacular set-
Dutch East Indies. ting hiked up the costs by 1.2 billion rand. The wind that
under a decentralization deal struck in 1910, Cape Town barrels down Table Mountain was the biggest headache.
is the home of parliament. It is also the tourist capital, not “It’s as if you’re driving on the motorway and you get
just of South Africa but of the continent, and a centre of Col- caught in the slipstream of a passing truck,” Robert Hormes,
ored culture (Colored is a term used for Afrikaans-speaking, the German-born stadium architect explained to dpa.
mixed-race South Africans). Architecturally speaking, the Around 400 extra tons of steel had to be brought in to
settler influence is still visible, with many homes built in the prevent the retractable roof from shaking violently. Special
Cape Dutch style, a style dating to the 17th century, which measures also had to be taken to prevent noise and light
is characterized by grand, curving gables. pollution, given the stadium’s location in a residential area,
Visitors often remark that Cape Town feels more like a near the city centre. The outer teflon-coated fiber glass
European than an African city, because it has a thriving cafe membrane diffuses the light at night, giving the oval sta-
scene, people are less car dependent than other cities, and dium a soft, almost fairytale quality.
has museums and galleries in plentiful supply. Its vibrant From the beginning, the venue was beset by controversy.
jazz scene and surfing culture give it a bohemian feel. The Many said the stadium was too far from the Cape Flats which
Cape region’s famous vineyards and fruit orchards have also include the vast area of black and mixed-race townships to
given the city a foodie culture. the south-east of the city, where most football fans live.
Ascending the 1,087-metre hulking Table Mountain by Others argued that the city’s rugby stadium should have
cable car or by foot is a favorite tourist activity. Apart from been upgraded for the World Cup instead of building a new
the great views, the mountain and the larger Cape Peninsula venue, which could become a white elephant.
are covered in thousands of species of fynbos (Dutch for The city has two Premier Soccer League teams, Ajax
fine-leaved plants), which make up the Cape Floral King- Cape Town and Santos, but neither team has enough sup-
dom, the richest biome in the world. port to fill a stadium of this size.
Robben Island, where former president Nelson Man- A consortium composed of Stade de France and local
dela and other leaders of the anti-apartheid movement company SAIL has been chosen to operate the stadium af-
were imprisoned for many years, is also a popular day trip. ter the World Cup. It plans to attract concerts, operas and
The island is visible from the new 70,000-seat Cape Town other big events. Meanwhile, the public park around the sta-
stadium, which is nestled at the bottom of Table Mountain, The 66,000-seater Green Point stadium nestles at the base of Cape Town’s iconic flat-topped Table Mountain, a few dium, Greenpoint Common, is also getting a facelift. During
within walking distance of the beach. hundred meters from the Atlantic Ocean in the Greenpoint neighborhood. (dpa) the World Cup, a Fan Mile will link the stadium with the
The stadium was the most controversial of the 10 sta- city’s main train station. dpa