11 September 2009
The world’s number one tennis player, Roger Federer, says he is excited about the 2010 Fifa World Cup. The Swiss ace, whose mother is South African, holds a South African passport.
Federer, who has won more Grand Slam singles titles than anyone in history, is hoping Switzerland make it to the finals in South Africa.
“I think it’s wonderful that South Africa got the World Cup, first of all,” he said this week. “I remember seeing them win the World Cup for rugby [in 1995]. It was a great thing for the nation, as well.
“Of course, I hope that Switzerland is going to be there too, so I can support Switzerland and South Africa, too.”
Switzerland, currently 15th in Fifa’s world rankings, are in a strong position to qualify for the World Cup finals. They’re top of European qualifying Group Two, with two matches still to go.
They’re on 17 points, three points clear of Greece and Latvia, and with a better goal difference than those two teams.
The Swiss complete their World Cup qualifying campaign with a visit to lowly Luxembourg, which has only five points from eight matches, on 10 October, followed by a tough contest against Israel on 14 October. That match takes place on home soil in Basel.
Federer takes an active interest in happenings in South Africa, and the Roger Federer Foundation operates in the country with IMBEWU, a non-profit NGO which initiates and co-ordinates sustainable participative projects in the Eastern Cape province.
IMBEWU is composed of two independent but complementary organizations: IMBEWU South Africa, based in New Brighton Township in Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth), plans and implements programmes at a field level.
IMBEWU-Suisse, based in Neuchatel, Switzerland, supports its South African sister organisation financially and encourages global exchanges.
Federer says the foundation is close to his heart, and he wishes he had more time to be involved with it. But, he says, when his playing career is over, there will be plenty of time to be more hands-on.
Federer is currently in action at the US Open in New York, where he has reached the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for a record 22nd time in succession. He is aiming to win his third Grand Slam title of the year, after victories at the French Open and Wimbledon.
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