With the start of the Quarter Final matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ on Friday, the Chief Executive Officer of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa, Dr Danny Jordaan, looks ahead to the final stretch.
“We look forward to an incredible Quarter Final and Semi Final. The final match is going to be the biggest moment for our country. It is about the real heart of this World Cup,” said Jordaan who reflected on the hard work that has been put into the hosting of the tournament with 11 days to go until the final match.
“This is the dream of Mandela and a dream of Tutu and has been 16 years of hard work. This dream is an incredibly exciting experience for all of us.”
For Jordaan there are a lot of exciting possibilities that could become a reality over the last few days of the World Cup. “There is the possibility of two coaches going only where Franz Bekenbauer has gone before – to have won a World Cup as a player and as a coach. We are now sitting with Maradona and Dunga who both have this chance. We also have the possibility of a Brazil and Argentina final and of course in world football that is one of the biggest that you can have,” continued Jordaan.
But it is the hope of the African continent – Ghana – that has attracted Jordaan’s attention.
“The prospects are amazing for us. There is the possibility of an African team going across a frontier we have not crossed before– a Semi Final in the World Cup. We hope that we will see the first African player to dance at the corner flag of the Semi Final and the Final. This is what we always wanted to achieve and why we have been talking of the importance of this African World Cup. This will be carved into the memory of this World Cup,” said Jordaan.
With only eight matches left in the World Cup, Jordaan believes that the World Cup has shown the World just what South Africa is capable of.
“It’s wonderful that the doubters are the believers today. Some of our worst critics are now coming to say ‘we were wrong’. It is very satisfying to us as a nation and people. It is an affirmation of our country’s ability to deliver,” said Jordaan.
After the final whistle has blown on Africa’s first World Cup, Jordaan believes the positive energy from the tournament will not disappear.
“The atmosphere has just been incredible but how do we sustain this after the World Cup? Already people are complaining during the rest days yesterday and today that there is no football to watch. It is something we will have to get used to. The country will continue to focus on nation building and infrastructure – this is an ongoing national programme of the country and not just for the World Cup and already we are talking about hosting the Olympics. This incredible experience will translate into actions,” concluded Jordaan.