30 June 2009
Exceptional hospitality, world-class stadiums, watertight security, passionate fans, pulsating football, and a major step-up in the national team’s performance – the Confederations Cup bodes well for a successful World Cup, says Fifa, although there are some “challenges to be addressed” ahead of 2010.
Addressing the media in Johannesburg on Monday, the day after the final match of the 2009 Confederations Cup, Fifa president Sepp Blatter said South Africa had done an “exceptional job” on the World Cup warmup event.
He said the hospitality, the stadiums and the reception by South Africans was wonderful, but emphasised that adequate accommodation, transport, crowd control outside the stadium, and a few other logistics remained a challenge.
Crowds only 2% short of Germany 2005
Blatter noted that 584 894 people had filled the stadiums for the tournament only 2% lower than the previous Confederations Cup in Germany in 2005.
For this, Blatter gave South Africa a rating of 7.5 points, saying the country had the potential to score 10 points next year. “For now you are like students at college,” Blatter quipped. “You are not at university yet, but next year you may go up.”
“The South African government has shown great commitment, and … we will work with them and the LOC to ensure that South Africa and Africa deliver a flourishing World Cup which will leave a great legacy.”
Fans ‘kept the tournament abuzz’
Blatter, who convinced Fifa’s board in 1998 that the 2010 World Cup had to be staged in Africa, said the football displayed during Confederations Cup was magnificent, adding that South African fans had kept the tournament abuzz.
“I want to thank the South Africa population, and not forgetting the volunteers who have done a wonderful job throughout the tournament.
“This competition was not only about football, but it has lifted the spirit of South Africa, and I’m looking forward to the 2010 Fifa World Cup.”
Bafana ‘could be contenders’
Blatter also complimented Bafana Bafana for their improvement during the tournament, adding that next year he expected the national side to be a competitor among the giants.
“They are a good team, with quality players with great talent,” Blatter said. “Tactically they were brilliant, and now they have to combine these abilities and start scoring goals.”