“Bafana Bafana are out of the World Cup but they won the hearts and minds of all South Africans and the whole world tonight,” said 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa (OC) CEO Danny Jordaan after South Africa’s final group stage match against France in Mangaung/Bloemfontein tonight.
South Africa won the match but it was not enough for the host nation to progress past the group stage of the tournament.
“Yes they did not make it past the group stage but they did what the country asked of them – they played with pride, passion, skill and commitment, they gave their best. They did the national team jersey and every single South African proud and we want to thank them for what they’ve done for this country,” he added.
Jordaan also thanked South Africans for the tremendous support they have shown for the South African team.
“The passion and enthusiasm we have seen across the length and breadth of South Africa in recent weeks has made this tournament truly come alive for locals and visitors alike,” he said.
Jordaan does not believe that South Africa’s exit will affect the overall success of the tournament.
“It may be over for Bafana Bafana but it is not over for South Africa. This is still South Africa’s World Cup. We are not going home, the World Cup is happening in our home,” he said.
“South Africans have already proven their support for Team South Africa. Without millions of them we would not have delivered ten world-class stadiums, opened new airports, highways and train stations in record time or welcomed hundreds of thousands of new visitors to our country. We would not have already hosted more than half of the World Cup matches successfully,” he explained.
“I remain confident that South Africans will continue to be fantastic hosts for the next two and a half weeks and make the most of this incredible time in our country’s history, which has already seen us achieve so much,” said Jordaan.
Jordaan said that support for the tournament to date has met all expectations with a total of 1 570 447 people attending the first 32 matches (an average of 49,076). More than a million people have watched the matches at the ten FIFA Fan Fests in South Africa and hundreds of thousands more have watched the games in public viewing areas around the country, with World Cup matches also shattering television audience records in the country.
Durban has proved to be the most popular FIFA Fan Fest with 238,546 visitors from the start of the tournament until 20 June.