Father Sergio Lorenzini is a Chilean priest who has worked in the suburbs of Johannesburg for more than 10 years. Speaking in an interview about the World Cup Soccer tournament, he explained the impact the event is having on South Africa.
The 46-year-old priest told Encuentro Digital that the tournament has already boosted the country's economy, especially in the area of tourism. He added that South Africans also have an increased sense of “patriotic pride” due to being on the front pages of newspapers around the world.
Fr. Lorenzini noted that the event has “drawn attention away from the daily sufferings and problems” in South Africa.
On the other hand, he continued, “there have been exaggerated hopes that the World Cup was going to change the lives of South Africans. Many are nervous about what will happen once the World Cup ends, when people see that in reality not much as changed, except for an entire month of joy over soccer. That much is true, it has been immensely joyful.”
“At the World Cup, the amount of money that is spent is astronomical…several billion dollars. How much will this money help to improve the quality of life of the poor? Probably not much, and in many cases, not at all. And that is not right,” he said.
The “multi-million dollar grants to build new stadiums fell into the hands of a few; the jobs that were created are now over,” Father Lorenzini lamented.