As the attention and expectation is growing for next year’s FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil, FIFA.com looks back at the previous edition and celebrates an event, which showcases the lasting legacy of the tournament for the host country and its region. Long after the final whistle of the football competition, the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa took again central stage today with the official opening of the Alexandra Football for Hope Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.

With this opening FIFA is nearing completion of the “20 Centres for 2010” Campaign, the official social campaign of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The aim of this initiative was to create, in co-operation with local organisations, 20 centres for education, public health and football across Africa.

“For us, hosting the first FIFA World Cup in Africa was always far more than just organising a football tournament”, said FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke at the opening event. “This is why we made a firm commitment to leave a tangible social legacy for South Africa, the entire African continent and its people. We are very proud to see this commitment become reality here in Alexandra today, putting football to work for the benefit of education and health”.

The objective of the 20 Centres for 2010 Campaign is to provide an infrastructure to local organisations which use football as a tool for social development. Each centre consists of a building with rooms to provide informal education, and public health services, office space, common space for community gatherings, and a small-size artificial turf pitch.

As a result of the campaign, education and health services have already been provided to over 70,000 young people in disadvantaged communities in 16 countries across Africa affected by issues such as violence, HIV and poor living conditions. Hundreds of thousands more youngsters will benefit from the centres in the years to come, showing the power of football in terms of social development.

The Alexandra Football for Hope Centre run by the organisation Grassroot Soccer will focus on the education of young people about HIV/AIDS, one of the major health challenges in South Africa. The opening in Alexandra is also symbolically closing the circle by coming back to the place where FIFA organized in 2010, on the occasion of the World Cup, the Football for Hope Festival, an event which brought together young beneficiaries of the Football for Hope initiative from all around the world.

"Today's event proves that we were right when we decided to host the World Cup", said Gert Oosthuizen, South Africa Deputy Minister of Sports and Recreation. "This is not the end of a journey, but perhaps the beginning of better things to come".

At the opening ceremony, were also present representatives from the 20 centres coming from all corners of Africa. In the coming three days, they will attend a capacity-building workshop as part of the long term support FIFA is providing to the local organisations which run the centres in an effort to ensure the long term sustainability of the project.

“Our hope is that many years from now, people will still be benefitting from activities of this and the other 19 centres across Africa”, said Valcke. “We hope that it can inspire positive social change and have a lasting impact on the surrounding community”.

The investment by FIFA and its partners into the 20 Centres for 2010 campaign amounts in total to $14.75m USD so far. Additional investments are planned through FIFA’s Football for Hope programme over the next years to support the running cost of the projects. Alexandra’s is the 16th centre to open. Three more are due to start activities before the end of the year and the remaining one will do so in 2014

Of the 20 Centres, five are based in South Africa: Khayelitsha, Alexandra, Qwaqwa, Mogalakwena, Edendale (due to open by the end of 2013). And the remaining 15 are in Bamako (Mali), Santiago (Cape Verde Islands), Cape Coast (Ghana), Mamfe (Cameroon; due to open by the end of 2013), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia; due to open in 2014), Lubumbashi (Congo DR), Nairobi (Kenya), Kigali (Rwanda), Iringa (Tanzania), Manica (Mozambique), Windhoek (Namibia), Ramotswa (Botswana), Luveve (Zimbabwe), Maseru (Lesotho; Bujumbura (Burundi; due to open by the end of 2013),

In order to make the 20 Football for Hope Centres a reality, FIFA worked together with a number of specialist stakeholders. The social profit organisation streetfootballworld is for instance responsible for managing the construction and implementation of the 20 centres. FIFA’s partner Yingli Green Energy has provided state-of-the-art solar technology for the 20 Football for Hope Centres, which ensures that the centres are not dependent on public utility suppliers and always have sufficient energy. And Sony has invested the proceeds of $2.3m USD of the official FIFA World Cup album into the 20 Centres campaign

A complete report of the campaign including information on all 20 centres is available on FIFA.com.