‘Now We Demand They Do It For the Poor’
By Davison Mudzingwa
CAPE TOWN, Aug 10, 2010 (IPS) – Weak floodlights barely held back gathering darkness as Somalia met Serbia in the finals of the Poor People’s World Cup. A small band of supporters were on hand to see and African side lift the cup in Cape Town’s Vygieskraal Stadium.
The Poor People’s World Cup drew 38 teams, predominantly from poor black and coloured communities far from the city’s glittering Green Point Stadium.
Two Worlds, Two Cups
Planners initially proposed Athlone, on the Cape Flats, as the site for Cape Town’s official World Cup venue, reasoning that the investment in infrastructure could breathe fresh life into this working class neighbourhood. The rows of council housing were too prosaic a backdrop for FIFA’s vision, and a picture-perfect location between mountain and sea was chosen instead.
It was left to the Poor People’s World Cup to host a tournament there, on the patchy grass of Avondale Athletics’ home ground. The teams, each adopting the name of a different country, played for a trophy and 5,000 rand (a bit less than $700) in prize money.
The tournament was originally planned to run concurrently with FIFA’s, to highlight the contrast between the daily lives of the majority of South Africans and the opulence of the World Cup proper. It began in June, but, fittingly, a struggle to find sponsors meant the finals were delayed by a full month, to Aug. 9.