12 June 2014
The South African government has conveyed its best wishes to the government and people of Brazil for a successful 2014 Fifa World Cup, which kicks off on Thursday with an opening ceremony followed by the opening match at the Arena de Sao Paulo.
“On behalf of government and the people of South Africa, we wish Brazil all of the best,” the deputy CEO of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), Nebo Legoabe said in a statement on Thursday.
“Football has the ability to unite people from different cultures and backgrounds. It is our hope that, just as we experienced this in 2010, a deep sense of pride and confidence will sweep over Brazil, as the world experiences its rich culture and vibrancy, and its hosting of this major event.”
Legoabe said South Africa was pleased at the number of African teams contesting the World Cup, and was confident that these teams would make the continent proud.
“Africa’s participation in major sporting events is gaining momentum, and we will be supporting our continental teams.”
Legoabe said the government encouraged Brazilians to enjoy the tournament and the lasting benefits that would be in place after the event.
“Government also invites South Africans to use this occasion to reflect on the success with which our country hosted this event four years ago this week; we must hold onto this legacy as we move South Africa forward in the years to come.”
Brazil will take on Croatia in the opening match, scheduled to kick off at 10pm South African time at the Arena de Sao Paulo. The host nation have never lost their opening World Cup game, with the previous 20 opening games producing 14 victories and six draws for the hosts.
The month-long tournament will see 32 nations compete for a place in the final in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, 13 July.
Africa’s national teams, who are representing the continent and hoping to produce better results than at the 2010 tournament in South Africa, are Ghana, Algeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Cameroon.