See also:
» 08.07.2010 - World Cup camps get SA kids off the streets
» 02.07.2010 - World Cup "good investment" for SA
» 15.06.2010 - SA World Cup attendance higher than in 2006
» 10.06.2010 - 20 African leaders arrive SA for World Cup
» 09.06.2010 - SA public servants "to work during World Cup"
» 07.06.2010 - SA vultures killed to predict World Cup winner
» 15.04.2010 - FIFA's cash ticket sales' excitement drowns
» 12.03.2010 - "No blackouts during 2010 World Cup"

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South Africa

Zuma orders South Africans to celebrate

South African soccer fans

© UNTWO news/afrol News
afrol News, 8 June
- President Jacob Zuma says after many years of planning and hard work, South Africa should now celebrate the long journey it had travelled in preparation for the first football World Cup on African soil.

This comes as soccer fever grips the country with only three days left before the historic opening match between the national team "Bafana Bafana" and Mexico at Johannesburg's Soccer City Stadium on Friday.

Speaking on the occasion to welcome members of the FIFA executive committee in the country on Monday night, President Zuma said the hosting of the World Cup had helped South Africa consolidate the gains it has achieved since attaining democracy in 1994.

"The journey that we travelled to achieve our freedom and democracy is marked by the struggles and sacrifices of many South Africans...after many years of hard work we can tonight celebrate," Mr Zuma told the more than 200 guests who gathered for the occasion.

President Zuma further said the World Cup had helped "entrench" the belief that South Africa was a proud nation united in its diversity. The infrastructure developed ahead of the world cup would help position South Africa as "a country of choice for investment and business interests."

The South African leader added that the country could not have reached all the accomplishments without the "dedication" of thousands of South Africans who toiled to ensure a world class event.

"There were many times during these six years when we were told the challenge for our country was far too great," Mr Zuma said.

He concluded that South Africa would never be the same after the World Cup and whilst onlookers may reflect on South Africa as a "miracle", it was one that was fought for through many years of struggle and negotiation.

"It is the sacrifice and suffering of many South Africans that brought us to the point where the international community could entrust us with such a responsibility. It is the sacrifice of our African brothers and sisters on the continent, the Diaspora and indeed many in the world over," President Zuma said.

SAFA President Kirsten Nemathandani, who referred to FIFA president Sepp Blatter as a "friend of the African people", said the excitement that had invaded South Africa since 2004 was difficult to describe. He expressed gratitude to Mr Blatter for standing "firm in his belief that Africa can do it".

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