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In Africa we trust

FIFA President Sep Blatter has urged the world to trust in South Africa to host a successful 2010 World Cup. He spoke from his office in Zurich.

An African Cup

With the 500-day build up to the kick off behind us, the FIFA President praised the country for being “a young republic, but an organised one”, he spoke both of challenges we will face as a host nation, as well as his hope for Africa and African football – both on and off the pitch.

According to Blatter, the biggest challenge facing South Africa at this stage is to deliver the FIFA World Cup at the highest possible level. “South Africa will do it, especially with all the arrangements they have made in terms of construction, technical and logistical infrastructure, transport, hospitality and accommodation. South Africa is an organised country. But this is not just the FIFA World Cup for South Africa, but rather an African World Cup”.

Ahead of schedule

On the 500-day celebrations which took place on 26 January 2009, FIFA Secretary-General, Jerome Valcke said that despite the pressure which is being felt, he is confident that preparations will be completed on time. Together with the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee’s Chairman Dr Irvin Khoza, the two were in agreement that the tournament’s opening match played at the iconic Soccer City stadium will be an historic moment.

“The hosting of the World Cup will leave a substantial legacy for the country. But today (500th day to kick off) is a day of celebration of the enormous progress we have made”, he said.

The ten world-class stadiums are on track to be completed by the end of 2009, well ahead of the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup six months later. Transport, security and technology plans are all at advanced stages to ensure that teams and spectators are properly catered for during the tournament. Roads, rail and public transport projects have turned cities into building sites and police have embarked on a massive recruitment drive, increasing numbers by 41 000 to over 190 000.

“We have to trust in Africa’s ability to organise the competition. Trust will give them the confidence. If they have confidence, they will be better in the future, not only as footballers, but as organisers. This is my personal wish as the President of FIFA,” said Blatter.