Abstract The FIFA World Cup 2010, is the first World Cup in history to be held on African soil. In the context of this sport-mega event, a lot of sport-for-development projects are set up. We argue sport-for-development projects can leave a positive social legacy. We examined two projects of Football for Hope and WorldCoaches which provide insights about the factors of success that contribute to this legacy. The aim of these projects is to use football as a vehicle for the empowerment of coaches and vulnerable children. Factors for success are cooperation with organizations with local knowledge and networks, the quality of coaches, the empowerment of coaches, a contextualized program and organizing a kick-off event during the World Cup. But the lack of available hardware, uncertainty about funding and the dependency on few coaches bring the sustainability of projects at risk. To sustain the social legacy we make three recommendations. Organizers must see the initial period towards the World Cup as a window of opportunity and exploit this. The second point of attention is to build sustainability into the program. Thirdly, we recommend to focus on local funding. Hereby, sport-for-development projects have more potential to stay at a constantly high level.