Jordaan: ‘Believe in 2010’

2008-03-20 00:00

South Africans should put aside the insecurities accumulated during the country’s fractured past and believe in themselves that they can host an excellent World Cup in 2010, LOC chief executive Danny Jordaan said yesterday.

Jordaan was speaking at the sod-turning of a new artificial soccer pitch at Wadley Stadium in Edendale yesterday.

The CEO said the potential training venues for 2010, including Pietermaritzburg, have been identified and "evaluation is taking place — there should be a decision around the end of this year".

Jordaan said: "There is almost a fear that actually we will succeed in delivering the best World Cup ever.

"In the post-1990 period South Africa is the only country to host a rugby, cricket and soccer World Cup. You must start believing in yourself. They said we would not attract sponsors but this Soccer World Cup is already the most successful commercially.

"South African construction companies in Dubai are helping to turn deserts into grasslands and seas into islands. When the same companies build here, people say they will not complete the stadium.

"If we have been damaged so much that we have lost our belief and confidence in ourself, then perhaps in this process also we have to regain our self-belief."

Jordaan, who lived in Imbali in 1981-82, went on: "One thing Imbali taught me was that if you did not believe in yourself, I would have had to run away after one day. Imbali gave me the ability to believe that tomorrow the sun will rise and everything will be OK."

After touring internationally for seven years trying to convince the world to give the World Cup to South Africa, Jordaan now seems perpetually to tour his own country convincing South Africans they are worthy of the event.

"If you look, first, at the construction of stadia, all of stadia will be completed by at least October 2009, at least six months before the start of the World Cup. That has hardly been achieved, ever.

"The issue with Port Elizabeth is that instead of a 31-month period, that stadium has a 24-month schedule. It is very rare to build a stadium in that timespace."

Asked what response should go to those who continue to doubt South Africa’s ability to stage 2010, Jordaan said: "We have to say nothing to them. We have to continue to do hard work, to show the state of readiness.

"They said a lot of things — they said the stadiums will not even start in South Africa; we are running very well. They said the Preliminary Draw would be a huge disaster; they were wrong. Our Preliminary Draw [in Durban] was the best ever. I can tell you that because I have been to about five. Our stadiums are just remarkable. In Durban, where they said the roof would not arrive, it has arrived."

Jordaan said the poor form of Bafana Bafana, who exited in the first round of the African Nations Cup in January … remains a concern.

"Blatter said he was happy with all the progress around the World Cup but concerned about the national team. And I think you have seen a shift and sharper focus on getting the team to a state of readiness, and I am happy with the initiatives that have now been taken.

"I think the African Cup of Nations has clearly shown that we have a weakness right through the middle of our team, from the defence to the middle as well as strikers, and that is what must be fixed.

"We have from this area [Bafana and Ajax Cape Town right-back] Bryce Moon who came through as a very promising, very good player, and that just indicates that if we have better facilities and better support, that this area must deliver better players to the

national team."

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