Amadou & Mariam: Moving forward together
© AFP

Back at the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, German star Herbert Gronemeyer and Malian duo Amadou & Mariam were the artists behind the official song 'Celebrate the day', a title equally fitting for the 2010 showpiece – the first edition of the global finals to be held on African soil.

Also fully involved in this year’s football fiesta, having performed on stage at Johannesburg’s Orlando Stadium as part of the FIFA World Cup Kick-Off Celebration Concert, Amadou & Mariam gave an exclusive interview to FIFA.com on what hosting the competition means to the people of Africa.

FIFA.com: Amadou, what do you remember of the mini-concert you gave ahead of the 2006 Final?
Amadou: That was a great moment for us, to be with our musicians on stage at Berlin’s Olympiastadion. It was symbolic since everybody knew that after the match all eyes would turn towards our continent and more precisely South Africa.

What does this first FIFA World Cup finals on African soil mean to you?Who would have said 20 years ago that such an event could take place on our continent, even more so here in South Africa? It’s a huge moment for the people of Africa.

What do you feel this event will bring to the African continent?|
All eyes will be on us for a whole month. It’s a chance for the entire world to discover Africa. A lot of countries have taken advantage of the last few months and weeks to take an interest in our culture and organise exhibitions. Supporters have come from across the globe too. It’s an opportunity for Africans to share with other people, to see how they live and what their customs are. Here we are, hand in hand, moving forward together.

Finally, on a purely footballing topic, who is your favourite for the Trophy?
Of course we dream of an African team winning it. It’s our most cherished wish. We would have loved Mali to have made it here too but what can you do, that’s football. Of course we’ll be throwing our support behind South Africa, but we’ll be backing Algeria, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire too.