11 June 2009
It’s been the subject of speculation and debate from the moment the host country was announced in May 2004. Now, with one year to go to the tournament’s kickoff, the 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa is “finally … a given, an accepted reality”.
These were the words of Danny Jordaan, chief executive the 2010 Fifa World Cup Organising Committee (OC), on Thursday 11 June 2009, the day that marks one year until home team Bafana Bafana run out onto the pitch at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium for the opening game of 2010.
For Jordaan, the hard work is now starting to pay off.
“So many people have worked so hard to make this dream of ours a reality,” Jordaan said in a statement on Thursday. “Now we are ready to go from planning to playing.
“When we said time and time again that this World Cup is going to happen and it is going to be successful, it’s been easy for people to cast doubt, because the event hasn’t happened as yet.
“But we as South Africans and Africans are undoubtedly in the process of delivering”.
Although it’s been a tough road, Jordaan says he’s found inspiration in the men and women who are working tirelessly to make sure 2010 will be a success for the country and the continent of Africa.
“People look at the project plans, the timelines and the key indicators to see whether this project will work and will be a success,” Jordaan said. “But for me, my conviction is derived from the hearts of the people who are actually doing the work, who are at the coalface, putting the infrastructure in place.
“It’s when you look at the construction workers building the stadiums, upgrading our airports and roads, the staff working on 2010 projects at the host cities and at all levels of government, and the staff of the Organising Committee at Safa House, that you know this project will be a success.
“When you look at them and you look in their eyes, you get a sense that they’ve all decided, ‘We won’t let you down, we won’t let the country down’, and that they’re going to make this work”.
Jordaan also had high praise for the host cities and the government, who he says have been “exceptional” on the road to 2010.
“Host cities have done extremely well, getting first into infrastructural and now operational readiness. South Africa has never experienced an event requiring co-ordination to such an extent.
“And the extent to which government has organised itself – into local, provincial and national spheres in a coordinated way – is a model that future Organising Committees will surely use. And we created it”.
And when the final whistle has blown and the fans depart back home, Jordaan only has one wish.
“We all know the sacrifices Nelson Mandela and countless others made. When we host a successful 2010 Fifa World Cup in one year’s time – delivered by both black and white coming together – I hope Madiba will look back and that he will also come to the conclusion that all his efforts, travels and contributions were not in vain.
“I hope he will be smiling”.
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