South Africa’s Confed excitement
The excitement for the FIFA Confederations Cup is growing by the day, and the suspense can be felt throughout the streets of South Africa as the nation braces itself for the FIFA Confederations Cup in June, a moment that will mark South Africa's grand entrance in hosting major football events.
South Africans are now gearing themselves up for what will be a historic moment on home soil, when, for the first time in the history of football, the FIFA Confederations Cup will he hosted by an African country. Celebrities, sporting and footballing officials around South Africa have now added their voice to the thousands who have applied for tickets: they simply can't wait!
South African swimming golden-girl and the multi-medal winning Paralympian, Natalie du Toit, said she was looking forward to the tournament. Du Toit competed at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics where she made history by becoming the first female amputee swimmer to qualify for the Olympics.
"I think every South African is crossing their fingers, hoping that the Confederations Cup will be a huge success," she said. "Football is a major sport in our country and I hope that both the FIFA Confederations Cup and the World Cup will unite our country. Personally, I will be supporting Bafana Bafana because it's important for all of us to get behind the team."
Springbok rugby World Cup-winning captain and an admirer of the country's football national side, John Smit, said it was important for South Africa to create a good impression during the tournament.
"The FIFA Confederations Cup is a great opportunity for the Bafana players to prepare for next year's World Cup. It also gives organisers do a dress rehearsal for 2010. Good luck to both for a successful tournament."
Smit led the South African team in their majestic journey in 2007 where they won the Rugby World Cup in France and is hoping that his footballing contemporaries can achieve the same feat.
However, the euphoria surrounding the competition has also caught up with people outside sporting circles.
Prominent South African TV personality, Andile Ncube said: "Football in this country has always been part of our culture; I knew the names of football players from different countries around the world even before I could learn to spell my own name. I can't wait to see, in my backyard some of the world's best players and obviously our own South African players live in June."
Joining the voices of the optimists was Bafana Bafana sensation and the country's football darling, Teko Modise.
"The spirits are high and we can't wait," he said. "We have been playing well lately and I'm confident that the Confederations Cup will be a huge success in our country. People are excited about this event."
The Bafana Bafana midfielder, made an appeal to football fans in the country to purchase tickets in order to rally behind their team.
"When we play, we want to see the whole stadium dressed in our colours, we want to feel the passion from the fans; that will help us a lot," he said. "That is why its important for them to buy tickets to watch our games."