Football fever has well and truly taken hold of South Africa, with public opinion towards the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ overwhelmingly positive and optimism surrounding the national team’s chances remarkably robust, according to latest market research conducted on FIFA’s behalf in May.
The findings from the fifth instalment of a six-wave survey reinforce a strong sense of pride in South Africa hosting football’s showcase event (92%), a firm belief it will be a success (86%), as well as an eager anticipation for the competition to begin (86%).
Asked to name whom they will be rooting for during the competition, unsurprisingly 63% responded “South Africa”, followed by Brazil (11%) and England (4%). Strong optimism in the national side, Bafana Bafana, is reflected in respondents’ answer to who they think will win the trophy: five-times world champions Brazil (37%) were cited as favourites, followed in second place by South Africa (13%) and Spain (8%). 13% see South Africa reaching the final, while 22% believe their nation will not make it past the group stage.
The player the majority are looking forward to seeing in action is Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (17%), followed by Argentina’s Lionel Messi (12%) and Brazil’s Kaká (10%). Indeed, South Africans are keen to follow the 2010 FIFA World Cup, either live in the stadium or on TV: 38% plan to watch as many matches as possible, while 29% even intend to watch all games irrespective of the countries involved. In a clear indication that South Africans’ interest is not limited to their own national team, a mere 3% of respondents said they would only watch matches when South Africa played.
Similar to the previous waves, the majority of respondents maintain high expectations in terms of the potential long-term benefits of hosting the FIFA World Cup, both tangible and intangible: 89% believe it will leave a lasting legacy and be remembered fondly over generations, 80% feel it will unite the people of South Africa, while 93% believe the images of the country beamed out across the world will lure more tourists in future.
N.B.: This urban representative survey was conducted amongst 1,000 South African respondents in all major cities and 2010 FIFA World Cup Host Cities, with quotas for ethnic origin, age and gender. Interviewing was conducted face-to-face in calendar weeks 18-20, 2010.