World Cup: 50 days and counting

21 April 2010

Wednesday, 21 April marks 50 days until the kick-off of the first Fifa World Cup™ on African soil and what 2010 Local Organising Committee CEO Danny Jordaan predicts will be one of South Africa’s defining moments.

“In South Africa there have been a series of significant moments that have shaped the country that we live in today,” Jordaan said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The memory of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison will live on in the minds of millions of South Africans, as will the memories of the first democratic election in 1994, the Springbok victory [at the rugby World Cup] in 1995, the Africa Cup of Nations win in 1996, and the announcement of our successful bid to host the World Cup on 15 May 2004.

“In just 50 days time we begin what I believe will be one of our most important defining moments, the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

“This defining moment will last a full month, a moment where the attention of the world will be nowhere but right here in South Africa. The same South Africa the world once called a miracle nation when, in 1994 we made a peaceful transition to democracy, defying all the sceptics.

“The world has heard many more stories about us since then, sometimes more negative than positive, but this World Cup gives all South Africans the opportunity to show the world who we really are 16 years into our democracy.”

‘South Africans, get involved’

While the official 50-day celebrations are taking place in Kimberly in the Northern Cape, for Jordaan it is a day for the whole country to recognise the importance of the World Cup to South Africa.

“I call on all South Africans to get involved in the World Cup, because this is our tournament,” Jordaan said. “We must remember that a huge part of the success of the World Cup relies on how all South Africans host the world this year. It is up to every one of us to make sure that we show all the visitors and the global television audience the warmth, friendship and unity of South Africa.

“The hard infrastructure is in place, our stadiums are ready and are already hosting matches, the transport plans are being finalised, the teams have selected their base camps, the tickets are selling fast – and now it is time to watch some of the best football players in the world striving for ultimate glory on our very own pitches.”

SAinfo reporter

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