On 15 May 2004, the long walk to the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ started with Nelson Mandela lifting the FIFA World Cup Trophy in Zurich.
With tears of joy in his eyes, he proclaimed that he felt "like a boy of 15" on the day South Africa was awarded the right to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Today (6 May 2010), nearly six years later, South Africa’s first democratic President, Madiba, again laid his hands on the Trophy at Johannesburg’s Nelson Mandela Foundation just 35 days before kick-off of Africa’s first FIFA World Cup. For FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke and Organising Committee CEO Danny Jordaan, it was a very special moment to personally share this moment.
"Nelson Mandela was one of the architects of this FIFA World Cup. We will never forget the moment when South Africa was awarded the FIFA World Cup. Madiba is the symbol of this new democratic South Africa. For us there was no way that the Trophy would arrive in the country and not be brought first to Mandela”, explained Valcke. “Nelson Mandela expressed his wish that he would see Bafana Bafana win the FIFA World Cup. We really hope that he will experience together with us the special moment celebrating South Africa’s achievements in the stadium”.
"It was so wonderful seeing Madiba in Zurich on the day South Africa won the right to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, so happy with tears of joy rolling down his cheeks. So, it is quite an emotional and joyful moment to be back bringing the trophy to him, a symbol of world football with a global symbol of humanity," added Danny Jordaan, CEO of the Organsing Committee.
“In the spirit of Mandela Day we would like all South African’s and the world to see the Trophy representing good," said Achmat Dangor, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. On Friday 7 May, the FIFA World Cup Trophy, will start in Khayelitsha on its final leg of its world tour brought by Coca-Cola through 38 cities and towns across all nine provinces in the host country.