There is little doubt that the hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ will showcase South Africa to the world and provide great sporting and infrastructure benefits to the country, but the benefits are also extending into the science laboratory.
A partnership between The University of Johannesburg (UJ) and Scottish company Sports Labs, known as the UJ Sports Lab, will see a new laboratory at the university become the first ever FIFA accredited artificial turf testing institution on the African continent.
Once accredited, this laboratory will be able to test the quality of artificial pitches - such as the 52 which are being laid in each of the South African Football Associations regions - locally , greatly reducing the cost of these pitches. The 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa (OC) has already set aside 81 million rand for the construction of 27 of these pitches after it was allocated to them by the South African National Lottery Board, with 20 per cent of these pitches being placed in schools.
Already nine sites in previously disadvantaged communities in South Africa have been identified for construction.
While one of the pre-cursors to South Africa winning the 2010 FIFA World Cup bid was that the tournament will leave a legacy in South Africa and Africa, the OC and FIFA insist on that legacy being one of quality.
The new UJ testing facility, currently under construction, will be able to test pitches up to FIFA 1 Star recommended levels - the minimum artificial pitch requirements for community football.
This is the motivation behind the UJ Sports Labs says lab director and UJ Department of Human Movement Studies head Professor Paul Singh.
"We have an opportunity here to leave a legacy. In this case it is one of quality sport pitches and facilities."
The new lab will also equip South African scientists with unique skills on the African continent.
"This is also an opportunity for training our students," said Singh. "An opportunity to expose them to the latest developments and technologies in artificial pitch development which will mean that our students can be employed anywhere in the world. "
Singh also said the laboratory would provide an opportunity for further development in the rest of Africa and the rest of the world.
"As this lab grows we will become very strategically positioned in the Southern Hemisphere and the next World Cup is being held here (Southern Hemisphere)."