'An explosion of national pride'

2010-06-06 12:40

kalahari.com

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma on Sunday welcomed the world to South Africa as the country stood on the threshold of hosting the biggest sporting event in the world.

"We are truly pleased and humbled to host the world in our country for this historical and extraordinary event," he told local and international journalists at the presidential guest house in Pretoria.

"We have been preparing for the tournament since 15 May 2004 when Mr Sepp Blatter carefully removed from an envelope, the card that named our country as the host of the 2010 World Cup.

"We knew from that moment that South Africa would never be the same again."

Zuma paid tribute to former president Nelson Mandela, whose appearance at the World Cup had been a hot topic ahead of the event.

Praised Mandela

"It is through his tireless efforts to achieve reconciliation and to build a thriving rainbow nation that the world bestowed South Africa with this honour of hosting the games," he said.

It remained unclear whether Mandela would attend the World Cup games, with conflicting reports from his party, the ANC, the government and his family.

The ruling party on Thursday said he would be at the opening and closing games, echoing similar comments by Sports Minister Makhenkesi Arnold Stofile. However, Mandela's grandson, Mandla, reportedly said the Nobel laureate would not attend as he was too frail.

Zuma said whether the former president attended would be up to him.

He paid tribute to all South Africans - for their "enthusiasm, joy and excitement".

Nation-building

"The South African flag has become the most popular item on the shopping list of South Africans and this augurs well for nation-building. This explosion of national pride is a priceless benefit of the World Cup tournament."

The infrastructure put in place for the event was another legacy expected to benefit South Africa long after the final whistle had blown.

Zuma assured the world South Africa was "more than ready" for the games.

"For us the World Cup has already begun."

The national team, Bafana Bafana was "ready" and in "fighting form". "It is now all systems go. Well done South Africa, well done Fifa, well done to the world. Let the games begin on Friday."

A long way

He further thanked FIFA and its president Sepp Blatter for believing in South Africa, despite doubts about its ability to host an event of such a magnitude.

Blatter, who flanked Zuma at the briefing, was upbeat about the tournament.

"It was a long way to come with FIFA's World Cup to Africa. It was a long way to come, but we did it."

He said Africa could now "stand as the organiser of the biggest event in the world... Bringing the World Cup to South Africa is to trust South Africa, to trust Africa.

"I am a happy man," he said, before Zuma handed him the World Cup trophy. The next time the two would pose with the golden trophy would be when they handed it to the winning team after the final whistle.

- SAPA
Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  makhenkesi stofile  |  sepp blatter  |  jacob zuma  |  swc 2010
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Debtors Clerk

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
Communicate Cape Town Finance
R12 000 - R15 000 Per Month

Senior Bookkeeper

Western Cape
Copytype Cape
R15 - R30 Per Month

Inbound Sales Consultant/Holiday & Leisure Sales

Western Cape
Your Move Personnel
R2 500 - R3 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Camping gear!

We’ve got all your camping must have’s right here at mind blowing low prices. Check them out now!

Herbex – buy 3 & get 1 free!

Fat burn packs, appetite control chewies, stretch mark cream and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

30% off Jinger Jack handbags

Spice up your wardrobe and save 30% on stylish Jinger Jack handbags. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Buy 3 books & pay for 2

The cheapest of the 3 books will be free. Offer valid while stocks last. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

Deal of the week!

Hisense 40” Full HD LED Television now R3999. Offer valid while stocks last. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is a good day to network and share your ideas and thoughts with your colleagues and friends. Information overload is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.