Welcome by Irvin Khoza (chairman of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ Local Organising Committee)
South Africans all over the country are extremely motivated and excited by the prospect of staging the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. Open any newspaper and you read articles about plans for the finals in 2010. Tune into any radio station and you hear the tournament being discussed.
Watch any television station and 2010 is constantly on the agenda.South Africans are inspired and united by the challenge and the prospect of playing host to the world.
What is the impact of this profound national commitment for the partners of the tournament, for the fans, the management and players of 32 competing teams - the media, the commercial partners and the FIFA representatives? It means that wherever you are, whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it, you will find South Africans eager to help, determined to play their part, desperate to ensure the World Cup unfolds as an efficient, joyful success.
Perhaps it is this shared responsibility that will set the 2010 tournament apart from the rest.
The overwhelming majority of South Africans, from the CEO of multi-million rand organisations to those people who sweep the streets in the early hours of the morning, seem to have a personal stake in the hosting of this global event.
South Africa is a young democracy that faces many major challenges. As South Africans, we share the challenge and we share the excitement. As Chairman of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee, I very much hope this will be the experience of everybody who visits our country between now and the Final game in 2010.
My conviction is that this will be a tournament wreathed in South African smiles, hosted by 44 million excited individuals eager to make this event extraordinary and unforgettable.
It is also a country that has over the past 12 years built an impressive, enviable record of hosting major international events that have been incident-free and joyful.
Africa is the home of limitless potential. Feel free to dream and, together, we will make it happen.