"In the 2010 process we have turned many dreams into reality and it has definitely been a road worth travelling".
These words from the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee (OC) Chief Executive Officer, Dr Danny Jordaan, on a day marking 400 days until the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, reflect the long but rewarding path that will bring South Africa, and in fact the African continent into the world spotlight.
With 400 days until kick-off of one of the biggest sporting events in the world, the opportunity to reflect on the successes of the past and the challenges of the future was not lost on Jordaan.
"As we stand we are very happy with the progress so far. We had our board meeting last week and everything is in great shape. We are confident that the World Cup will be a wonderful experience", said Jordaan.
The road to 2010, which started with an idea in 1994 to host the FIFA World Cup, has had its fair share of challenges and for Jordaan there are still many to come.
"For now we have to focus on the Confederations Cup which is taking place in little over one month but obviously we still have to keep our eye on the World Cup - we must make sure the stadiums are complete in time. We are currently working on the opening and closing ceremonies for the Confederations Cup and the World Cup, we have the final draw in December and of course we have to focus on tickets," said Jordaan.
With a lot of hard work still left there is no doubt in Jordaan's mind that the World Cup has had more than just a positive effect on South Africa.
"With the global economic crisis it would have been much worse here if we did not have people working on the construction sites and the transport improvements. In 2010 we want to increase the tourism numbers from the current 9 million visitors a year to 10 million. A key factor in this world cup is the tourism legacy and the jobs that come with it".
As the stadiums near completion, transport infrastructure improvements continue and the excitement around the country builds, there is no doubt that South Africa will be hosting the best ever FIFA World Cup in 400 days.
"It is now a reality. We have moved the wonderful dream of the stadium behind us (pointing to Soccer City stadium) to what we see today. It (2010) is around the corner," concluded Jordaan.