Terry Paine has instigated his worries about the impact of the 2010 World Cup will have for his beloved South Africa in the years following the event.
Paine, the current Southampton all time appearance record holder, feels that the legacy from South Africa World Cup is “questionable.”
He is concerned that the grassroots will suffer and the county will abstract a mammoth debt.
He said, “I do have my worries about the 2010 World Cup. I fear that there would be escalating debts that the country would not be able to handle.
“I fear the legacy may not be as successful as they would have liked.”
Paine was an ambassador for the 2006 and 2010 bid and conceded that the failure to land the 2006 World Cup was “a blessing in disguise.”
The 69-year-old said, “Germany winning the bid gave South Africa another four years to get ready. Fortunately, this allowed them to have extra time to upgrade and build better stadiums.
“The authorities and federation had adopted new measures, FIFA have been especially helpful in contributing to finances.
“South Africa even beat England to the 2006 bid because of hotel rooms. England has planned sport events running throughout the summer, so that could not guarantee enough rooms for visitors.
“The extra four years gave South Africa a less of margin for error; however it is questionable whether there will be a legacy left behind.”
The nine new conformed stadiums have helped the country to get more prodigious. Brand new stadiums are under construction at Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth and at Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane. Where Limpopo will be rebuilt, as will King Senzangakhona Stadium in Durban.
Five of the current football stadiums will undergo renovations for 2010 - Soccer City and Ellis Park in Johannesburg, Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, the Royal Bafokeng stadium, and the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.
Kings Park and Green Point stadium in Cape Town will become completely new multi-sport facilities, Green Point complete with a retractable dome to protect fans and players from the Cape’s unpredictable winter weather.
These stadiums need to be ready and that is the main factor why South Africa will be debt ridden. The world demands the best and the best comes at a price. We will have to wait and see if that price will be justified.
Paine feels with a successful campaign in 2010, the World Cup will return to Africa in the near future.
He said, “There is no reason why the World Cup cannot return to Africa, South Africa will showcase the continent’s intent and perhaps in the none too distance future the event will return.
“It is vital that it runs smoothly. I cannot wait.”
The ex-England international believes a good performance is needed from the South African National Team at the World Cup but is worried about how the team may perform.
He said, “The quality of South African football is not at the highest because any half decent players venture abroad. Out of the national squad, only three play in the Premier League regularly.
“The national team’s target must surely be the second round knockout phase, if the country is going achieve any sense of credibility they need to perform well and make the people proud.”
With successful Rugby and Cricket teams, Paine still claims that football is the biggest sport in South Africa.
He said, “Rugby and Cricket are merely modest compared to the popularity of football. Football is by far the biggest and most participated sport in South Africa. Rugby and Cricket seems only important for the richer parts of the country, where football appeals to the masses.
“I just hope that FIFA do not deprive those local communities of a chance to watch World Cup matches. With the intake of visitors I can see the ticket prices will become unaffordable for the locals.”
Paine’s love affair with South Africa began early on his career. Much of the 1980s were spent in Johannesburg where he went on to coach Wits University Football Club, but he returned briefly in 1988 to work at Coventry City with his ex-Hereford United manager John Sillett.
He soon returned to South Africa and began work as a football presenter on digital satellite TV sports channel Supersport. He often appears alongside former Manchester United goalkeeper Gary Bailey, and normally presents English Premier League and UFEA Champions League matches.