Welcome to South Africa!

Zuma: “We are determined to give the world the best World Cup ever”

1st June 2010: The whole of Africa is ready to welcome the world to our beloved continent for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. From 11th June to 11th July, the attention of the whole world will be focused on South Africa as different teams struggle to take home the most prestigious football trophy.

We are so proud to have this tournament in our land, being the first time ever it is being held in Africa.
So many people doubted South Africa’s capability to host such a high-level event. Those who have always believed that nothing good can come from Africa were so confident that South Africa would fail to successfully organise and host the World Cup. In fact they kept on waiting for FIFA to put in place the so-called Plan B.

By having everything ready ahead of time, South Africa has made the whole of Africa very proud and disapproved those who don’t think Africans are capable of doing great things.

The Presidency of South Africa has confirmed that all systems are in place to welcome the Heads of State and Government, foreign teams and supporters who will be travelling to South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Everything is in place including stadiums, accommodation, seating arrangements, security, transport, logistics, entertainment, etc.  

The World Cup will take place in eight of South Africa’s nine provinces, using 10 stadiums in nine host cities. Five of the 10 stadiums are new and the rest have been upgraded for the event.

Johannesburg, as South Africa’s economic hub, is the only city with two venues for the world cup, namely Soccer City and Ellis Park.

Other host cities are Cape Town, Pretoria, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Polokwane, Nelspruit, Bloemfontein and Rustenburg.

Thank you South Africa for the good work that has brought the first World Cup to Africa!

A man who deserves special thanks is the FIFA President Sepp Blatter for believing in Africa and for resisting immense pressure to implement Plan B.

He once said: “The South African LOC (Local Organising Committee) is well structured and we are continuing to monitor the construction of the stadiums to ensure that all deadlines are met. Plan A is South Africa, Plan B is South Africa and Plan C is South Africa.”

For more than a month, the whole world will be focusing on Africa, on South Africa for fan. For the first time, we expect the world to see the best part of Africa, of Africans, of our cultures.

We are ready to show the world that we are very hospitable, well-organised, are full of life and know how to celebrate even when things are not all that going well.

This World Cup is our best opportunity to prove that we are a great continent.

I can assure you that those who are coming to Africa will not be disappointed, this is a great continent, a hospitable continent, a place where visitors are treated in a very special way, always made to feel at home.

We welcome the whole world to our continent: those who will have a chance of physically travelling to South Africa, as well as those who will be watching the matches on TV back home.

All travelling to South Africa will learn how to celebrate, how to treat with respect all guests and how to make them feel at home.

We can only hope that foreigners, especially those from the so-called rich countries who will travel to South Africa will go back and tell their country mates how nice it feels to be treated with respect while away from home.

May be this experience can help them be more hospitable to Africans who for one reason or another, find themselves abroad.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has made it clear: “We are on track to meet all our obligations and are determined to give the world the best World Cup ever.” Without doubt, South Africa will host an exciting and memorable event.

As the world goes to South Africa, we should always remember the words of Mr. Irvin Khoza, Chairman of 2010 World Cup LOC who said: “Africa is the home of limitless potential. Feel free to dream and, together, we will make it happen.”

The former South Africa’s President Nelson Mandela was right when he said: “The World Cup will help unify people, if there is one thing in this planet that has the power to bind people, it is soccer.”

Welcome to Africa, welcome to enjoy football, Africa and the company of Africans. Welcome to enjoy life in Africa because as FIFA President Blatter has put it: “Life is rhythm, football is rhythm and I feel the rhythm when I am in South Africa.”

By Stephen Ogongo Ongong’a