23 June 2010
The government, the organisers, and Bafana Bafana themselves have called on South Africans to continue supporting the 2010 Fifa World Cup, regardless of the fact that the national team is now out of the tournament. “This is still our World Cup,” President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday. “We are enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Bafana Bafana played with style and belief to score South Africa’s first ever win over France in Mangaung/Bloemfontein on Tuesday. However, the 2-1 victory left them placed third in Group A, level with Mexico on four points, but losing out only on goal difference
Local Organising Committee CEO Danny Jordaan, speaking after the match, said he did not believe that South Africa’s exit would affect the overall success of the tournament.
“It may be over for Bafana Bafana, but it is not over for South Africa,” Jordaan said. “This is still South Africa’s World Cup. We are not going home; the World Cup is happening in our home.”
Jordaan also thanked South Africans for the tremendous support they have shown for the South African team.
“The passion and enthusiasm we have seen across the length and breadth of South Africa in recent weeks has made this tournament truly come alive for locals and visitors alike,” he said.
“South Africans have already proven their support for Team South Africa,” Jordaan added. “Without millions of them we would not have delivered 10 world-class stadiums, opened new airports, highways and train stations in record time or welcomed hundreds of thousands of new visitors to our country. We would not have already hosted more than half of the World Cup matches successfully.
“I remain confident that South Africans will continue to be fantastic hosts for the next two-and-a-half weeks, and make the most of this incredible time in our country’s history.”
Jordaan said support for the tournament to date had met all expectations, with a total of 1 570 447 people attending the first 32 matches (an average of 49 076 per match).
More than a million people have watched the matches at the 10 Fifa Fan Fests in South Africa, and hundreds of thousands more have watched the games in public viewing areas around the country, with World Cup matches also shattering television audience records in the country.
Bafana Bafana player Siboniso Gaxa, speaking after the game, also urged South Africans to continue supporting the tournament.
“It’s the first time that South Africa is united like this,” Gaxa said. “Football has brought South African people together, which is amazing.
“I want to thank them – I’m very grateful that we’re surrounded by such people, and to everyone who has been supporting us, thank you very much, and I hope you’ll keep on supporting the World Cup.”
SAinfo reporter and BuaNews
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