Good riddance!!! So the coastal city of Durban holed up in the Kwazulu/Natal province, South Africa, has been stripped of its status to host the 2022 quadrennial multi-sport Commonwealth Games.
It’s about time many an African nation starts realizing that hosting of august events is not just another stroll in the park on a Sunday afternoon.
Hosting of high-profile international functions should not be used as a tool to score cheap political points, which can have far-reaching irremediable ramifications in the long run.
Given the ongoing worrisome global economic meltdown, one must applaud the ANC-led government for boldly digging their heels in the sand by declining to release millions of rand going to waste via the construction of internationally required standardized state-of-the-art sports facilities – only to be turned into white elephants upon completion of the gathering.
Commercially, many host nations have never fully recovered from hosting international sporting events such as regional championships, Olympics, All Africa Games, CAF Afcon and the World Championships.
Greece is a case in point!! The islands-sandwiched eastern/southern European country is still licking its severely burnt wounds after hosting the 2004 Summer Olympics.
It took the divine intervention of the European Union (EU) to rescue the country’s wobbling economy after it totally went on her knees in the face of heavy inflation that forced local banks and financial institutions to close shop.
The city of Durban was stripped of the right to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games earlier this week because the South African government could not provide financial guarantees, including other commitments made when it won the bid, which had not been met nearly two years later.
The coastal city presented a failed revised budget and hosting proposal to the CGF at a last-ditch meeting last weekend to save Africa’s first ever international multi-sport event.
However, the detailed review has concluded that there was a significant departure from the undertakings provided in the city’s bid and as a result a number of key obligations and commitments in areas such as governance, venues, funding and risk management have not been met under the revised proposition.
Durban’s failure is not only a massive embarrassment for South Africa, with the bid initially hailed as historic as the first African host of the revered Commonwealth Games, but to the entire African continent.
Ever since Durban won the games as the sole bidder in 2015, the Indian Ocean city has missed deadlines to provide the financial guarantees since money was a major problem. Durban’s fate was another indicator of the heavy cost countries must pay to put on major sports events.
Up to last weekend, when the CGF met with South African officials in London, there was still no signed document from the South African government guaranteeing it would advance money for the games.
So this is exactly what happens when one is trying to punch above one’s weight. Our own brothers at the Namibia Football House (NFA) can attest to that after hosting the CAF Women’s Championship and the Cosafa Regional Cup in 2014 and 2016 respectively.
Nothing came of the usual worn out song ‘Leave a Legacy Behind’, the same crap local football officials fed us with when South Africa hosted the FIFA World Cup in 2010.
Truth be told, apart from a donated dysfunctional old bus, how did Namibia benefit from the 2010 World Cup and what were the pitfalls for football or the general public?
Up to this day, the public are still kept in the dark as to how much Namibia spent on hosting the abovementioned tourneys and what pitfalls did the events yield? I’m just asking. I rest my case.