Jordaan offers Brazil assurances

Bafana

Jordaan, who led the South Africa 2010 Organising Committee when FIFA touched down in the country four years ago, was responding to questions about whether it is worth it for a developing country to host the soccer World Cup.

With Brazil 2014 starting this week, there is still serious unrest in that nation about the value of hosting the event this year, with pressing social inequalities chief among the concerns of the Brazilian people.

Jordaan offers Brazil some hope by explaining that South Africa achieved the legacy goals it set out during the bidding process.

"We were clear about what we wanted to achieve. Our country had a struggle to change the perception of South Africa and the African continent in general," Jordaan tells FIFA.com.

"To show the world that Africa has potential and capability and that it is not a hopeless continent as it was made out to be, we wanted to change the notion of an Afro-pessimists’ view of Africa.

"Africa is now a place for business, trade and investment. And this is what we want. But you have to break through the negative perceptions first. Perceptions, if they are unchallenged, become reality."

Jordaan also feels Brazil should look at the long-term benefits of the expansion to infrastructure.

"For example, in preparation of the World Cup we built new airports in our country and invested in the Johannesburg OR Tambo International airport. As a consequence of our airport expansion programmes, we can have more aircraft landing. Before you can have more tourists in your country, you must first have an airport that can accommodate more aircraft landing," Jordaan explains.

"When we invested in airport expansion, it was not for 30 days of the World Cup. That would be a total misrepresentation. It’s part of tourism growth in our country. And we have seen tremendous growth as a result. 95 per cent of World Cup tourists said, ‘We will come back to the country’. 98 per cent of them said, ‘We will recommend to our friends, our family and others that they should come and visit South Africa’.

"You cannot buy those results with all of the money in the world - and we tried. We spent R400-million over a 10-year period on marketing. It didn’t work. The real-life experience of those who came to the World Cup and saw the country’s infrastructure and engaged with the South Africans is how you convince people to come to your country."

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