This is Africa’s time. Let’s use it

2009-12-05 12:15

AFTER the success that was the 2010 World Cup Draw in Cape Town on

Friday there shouldn’t be any doubting Thomases left.

Africa’s time has come and South Africa has proved to all that this

continent is capable of hosting any of the world’s ­biggest events.

Friday was an historic moment for us as Africans as we welcomed the

best of the world to the first-ever World Cup Draw on African soil. And if there

are any people out there who still doubt our capabilities to make things happen,

let’s use the next few months before the tournament to win them over. There

shouldn’t be many of them.

All the 32 teams to play in the soccer extravaganza are already

experiencing African hospitality. They’ve been booked into some of our

world-class facilities around the country and will enjoy the warmth of a nation

that has made Africa proud.

But while we celebrate the success of the draw and look ahead to

what without doubt will be one of the best World Cups –if not the best – we must

keep our promise to the rest of the continent to make this a ­truly African

World Cup. We must make sure that our brothers and sisters across the entire

continent feel part of the pulse and that they enjoy the benefits of supporting

South Africa as the host country.

It is sad that aside from Bafana Bafana, who qualify as hosts, no

other team from southern Africa has made it to the only World Cup to be hosted

in Africa in our lifetime. But we hope that countries like Mozambique, Zimbabwe,

Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland and others can also tap into the

opportunities this tournament brings and that ­together we will stand tall and

host the world.

We also hope that in the next few months the remaining ­issues of

transport, accommodation and security are cleared well before kick-off so that

we can all concentrate on the beautiful games and wait for our ­favourite teams

to showcase their talent.

Since it is an African World Cup we are confident that our teams –

Bafana Bafana, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Nigeria and Algeria – will make the

continent proud as they meet the world’s best in the likes of Lionel Messi,

Kaka, Ronaldo, Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Thierry Henry.

Africa has had its fair share of grief – civil wars, coups,

­disease and dictatorships. Let us, even if for only this once, use this

occasion to celebrate being African, heal our wounds and show the world that

Africa is open for business.

We have proved with other tournaments such as the Africa Cup of

Nations, the Rugby World Cup, the Indian Premier League, the Confederations Cup

and the 2010 World Cup Draw that Africa is ready. Now is the time for us to sit

back and blow our own vuvuzelas.

Afrika, ke nako ya rona. It’s our time. Let the games

begin.


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