A look back
With the opening round now complete, South Africa, and indeed the world, has a lot to look forward to with the much anticipated semi-finals starting tomorrow.
With the USA up against Spain tomorrow night and South Africa against Brazil on Thursday night, the rest day provides a rare moment to reflect on the tournament so far. And for the Chief Executive Officer of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee, Dr Danny Jordaan, it has been a great success.
For Jordaan, one of the main reasons for bidding to host the FIFA Confederations Cup and next years 2010 FIFA World Cup™ was to unite a nation.
"At the matches you have seen South Africans of every shade and every colour coming together. It is wonderful to be able to step back and reflect that this is normal, it is not staged, this has been what this tournament has been about. It has been a chance to see the society we have worked so hard for, coming together and celebrating the game that we love. We have seen people, irrespective of colour, religion or income level having to get in the same taxi on the park ‘n rides and go to the games together - it is this togetherness that this tournament has brought us."
For Jordaan the tournament is also about exposing South Africans, and in particular the youth to great talent, providing a legacy of football for the country and continent.
"We have the greatest football players in our own backyards and at the public training sessions the youngsters have had the opportunity to interact and even play with their heroes. The Brazilians had a training match with the SuperSport United under-17 team - it is these opportunities that are what the tournament is about," said Jordaan.
In exposing South Africa to world class, international football, Jordaan believes that the FIFA Confederations Cup has certainly done its job, referring to the six million South Africans who tuned into watch South Africa against New Zealand on the public broadcaster, SABC. What this works out to is that around 60 per cent of people watching their television sets in the country, were watching South Africa beat New Zealand 2-0 in Rustenburg.
"This was higher than the 5.2 million people that watched South Africa beat England in the 2007 Rugby World Cup and is an illustration of just how much this tournament has gripped the imagination of the South African public," said Jordaan.
Of course South Africans are flocking in their thousands to the stadiums to watch the games live and Jordaan is happy with the attendance at the matches, noting that this tournament had now out-sold the FIFA Confederations Cup in Germany 2005.