Final draw signals a great World Cup

2009-12-06 09:17

AS a country and a continent we from the outset promised the world

a distinctly African, world-class 2010 Fifa World Cup.

And after a very successful Final Draw, we are clearly well on our

way to delivering on that promise.

The excitement of the World Cup fever was tangible throughout our

country this week, with the draw watched by more than 200 million in many

nations and followed in ­every corner of our country.

It was on everyone’s lips, on every newspaper’s front page and on

every radio and television station.

It was a great celebration of Africa which triggered a wave of

passion and support on the streets of Cape Town, across South Africa and around

the world.

The City of Cape Town played a wonderful host to an event which has

really kick-started the tournament, and it was amazing watching the scenes in

Long Street as more than 50 000 people gathered to watch the draw. During the

preliminary draw we took what is usually a mundane process of drawing lots and

raised the bar to create a world-class show. We continued to raise the bar when

we hosted a very successful Fifa Confederations Cup and we continued to lift it

this weekend with another slick, high-quality final draw show.

I think we’ve proven ourselves as South Africans as worthy World

Cup hosts and indeed we’ve delivered in distinctly African, world-class

fashion just as we promised. What we now have to do over the next seven months

is keep that passion and support for the World Cup alive, not just in terms of

what happens on the field, but also in terms of the sale of World Cup

tickets.

The third ticketing sales phase started yesterday (Saturday), in

which more than one million tickets for all matches in all categories went on

sale.

This week showed again just how special an event the Fifa World Cup

is and how people are now beginning to understand that and appreciate the

event’s magnitude.

When again will you get the chance to see Bafana Bafana play Mexico

in the opening match of the Fifa World Cup at Soccer City, or see Brazil play

Portugal in Durban? What about seeing Didier Drogba go up against Cristiano

Ronaldo in ­Nelson Mandela Bay?

The Final Draw has thrown up some great games and the kick-off has

well and truly started.

It’s been a surreal week almost, seeing the likes of Cafu, Roger

Milla, David Beckham, Michel Platini, Franz Beckenbauer, Jay Jay Okocha, Ruud

Gullit, Hidetoshi Nakata, Luis Figo and so many other legendary footballers

walking around Cape Town at the same time.

And seeing the Fifa World Cup trophy landing on South African soil

after touring all of Africa was in particular a very emotional moment for

me.

It signalled the end of a long dream and the beginning of a new

one. Our dreams and aspirations to stage this tournament on equal footing with

any country in the world were dismissed.

As we welcomed the cherished trophy, we also announced the death of

doubt in our country’s and continent’s ability. It’s ironic and fitting that

just across the way from where the final draw was held was Robben Island – a

place of dreams crushed and dreams renewed.

This is a time that evokes the dream of Nelson Mandela on that

­island as he went there in 1964, that “one day in my country I am going to live

in a democratic South Africa.” All of us who were in that struggle shared that

dream and we also hoped that one day we would be a member of Fifa and we dared

to dream that one day we were going to host this World Cup.

It is game on. It has been a long journey, but now we have finally

­arrived.


  • Danny Jordaan is the CEO of the 2010

    Fifa World Cup Local Organising Committee South Africa.


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