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Chris Hatherall - South Africa has offered plenty of satisfaction

07 July 2010 01:09

A quick newsflash for Rolling Stones fans before the World Cup semi-finals are completed today.

Spotted Mick Jagger shopping in a craft market in Cape Town yesterday with his goons in tow - buying African stencils. So look out for those on the front of his next album!

No doubt Mick will be turning up in Durban tonight for Germany v Spain, too.; but for the rest of the country, outside of Johannesburg at least, the World Cup is now starting to wind down.

Here in Cape Town they are expecting one last bumper crowd at the Fan Fest for Sunday's final but most of the locals are talking as though the party has already packed up.

- Fabregas fit / Schweinster: We are underdogs / Torres sweating on semi place

The overall feeling is virtually unanimous; everyone has loved every single minute of the World Cup but is reserving judgement over whether it will have any long term benefits for the country.

"I gave up my job to do this for six months just so I could enjoy the World Cup and be part of it," one taxi driver told me. "I've been to games in almost every city and it's been incredible. I am so proud of what our country has done. But we'll have to wait and see if the benefits end now.

"All of us have paid a lot of taxes, a lot of rates, to get the World Cup up and running but what happens now?

"They say it will help tourism in future but everyone has spent a lot of money being here - do you think they can afford to come back?

"I have a feeling it's going to be very quiet here now it's over. It's going to be feel weird for a lot of people I just hope we can cope!"

Whatever happens, however, the World Cup has achieved one massive goal for South Africa by making fools of those who were portraying it as the most dangerous country on earth.

I have to admit I was nervous about my trip here, even though I also travelled to watch the Confederations Cup last year. In Johannesburg, especially, the constant worry about being robbed, carjacked or attacked is ever-present, largely because so many people tell you to be careful and every local, no matter how complimentary they are about their city, lives behind a security gate.

But the reality is if you are careful the threat is minimal - look at how many thousands of fans have spent the month here perfectly safely.

In Cape Town in particular it feels like any European city and perhaps tourists put off by safety fears will now pluck up the courage to visit South Africa in future. I hope so because this party shouldn't be allowed to end so easily.

Source: DSG


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