“This is a year for which a lot of hard work has been put in. It is a year that we have dreamed about and pursued. And now we are here.”
With the new year barely two weeks old, these words from the Chief Executive Officer of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa (OC), Dr Danny Jordaan, outlined the significance of the new year as preparations for one of the most significant events on the African continent reaches its finishing point. He was speaking to hundreds of media who attended the first briefing for the year at SAFA House in Johannesburg
Jordaan is confident that all areas of preparation are well on track with five months left until the crowds descend on Soccer City stadium for the opening match between South Africa and Mexico on 11 June.
“We are confident that we will deliver a safe and secure world-class World Cup. We have hosted the Preliminary Draw for the World Cup in Durban in November 2007, the FIFA Confederations Cup Draw in November 2008, the FIFA Confederations Cup in June 2009 and the Final Draw in December 2009. All of these without incident and all considered to be highly successful FIFA events.”
With security concerns raised following the tragic incidents involving the Togolese team during the African Cup of Nations in Angola, Jordaan was quick to reiterate that South Africa was more than prepared to secure the tournament.
“It was a tragedy in Angola and we have a lot of sympathy for the team and the organisers. We strongly condemn the attacks. The attack in Angola and the World Cup cannot be linked though. We are convinced that we will deliver the World Cup in an efficient, professional and safe manner.
We have hosted Italy, England, France, Argentina and Brazil in this country without incident and South Korea are in the country as we speak playing warm-up matches. We have hosted world politicians in this country without incident and we have hosted the world’s major music stars. Nothing has ever happened,” said Jordaan who pointed to the 147 major events hosted in South Africa without incident since it emerged as a new democracy in 1994.