15 June 2009
The 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup kicked off at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday afternoon with an opening ceremony bursting with youthful exuberance and African flair, bringing the tournament’s slogan, “Ke Nako” (It’s Time), to life in spectacular fashion.
Over 45&nbps;000 enthusiastic specatators filled the stadium, with a strong police presence in and around the venue, and hundreds of stewards on hand to assist the fans.
The vibrant opening ceremony, co-produced by Lebo M, the award-winning co-producer of the Lion King musical, featured world-renowned musicians Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Hugh Masekela, Bhekumuzi Luthuli, Siphokazi, penny-whistling brothers Kwela Tebza.
Bodies moved across the stage in colourful costumes representing the people from the east, west, north and south of Africa, and 700 schoolchildren moved in flawless synchronisation to form the words “Ke Nako”, followed by a giant South African flag.
Addressing the crowd before the kickoff of the opening match between South Africa and Asian champions Iraq, Fifa president Sepp Blatter thanked the people of South Africa, who he referred to as “brothers and sisters”, for hosting Fifa’s “Festival of Continental Champions”.
“The world of football trusts you as you are hosting this event,” Blatter said.
President Jacob Zuma welcomed participating countries Brazil, Egypt, Iraq, Italy, New Zealand, Spain and the USA to South Africa.
“Today we are making history,” Zuma said. “Today is the day. The time has come. Let us show the world.”
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