The 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa (OC) has delivered on its promises and stands ready and waiting for fans to arrive and enjoy the first FIFA World Cup™ on the African continent.
This was the clear message following the final meeting - ahead of the tournament’s 11 June 2010 kickoff - of the OC’s Board of Directors in Sandton, Johannesburg, today.
“What we have promised, we have delivered,” said Dr Irvin Khoza, OC Chairman, referring to the OC and South African Government having met all of FIFA’s requirements, as well as delivering several successful events including the Preliminary Draw, the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009, the tournament’s Final Draw in December and the Team Workshop.
“That we are on the verge of something truly unique and memorable is undoubted. And that this tournament has rallied and mobilised this country like never before is also without question. We achieved stadium completion in a time which surprised many who doubted our ability to do so. There were many who questioned the scale of our ambitions, but we have proved them wrong. We are waiting. We are ready. Ke Nako (It’s time),” said Khoza.
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter joined the start of the Board meeting, which was also attended by the Chairman of the FIFA World Cup Organising Committee Mr Issa Hayatou and FIFA Secretary General Mr Jérôme Valcke.
“It’s just nine days to the kickoff of this exceptional event, FIFA’s World Cup organized on the African continent in South Africa by South Africans. FIFA has the naming rights to this tournament, but all the work has been done here. Without the involvement of the whole country, not only sports people, but the South African Government, local, provincial and national, it would have been impossible to put together this event. The Organising Committee, in which we have complete confidence and trust, has done a great job. Thank you so much for what you’ve done and what we’ve done together. This first African FIFA World Cup will be a big page in the history of humanity, not only in the history of sport,” President Blatter told the Board meeting.
Speaking on more operational issues, Dr Danny Jordaan, OC CEO, said test matches have now been played at all the tournament’s stadiums, which are ready to host some of the world’s most famous players.
“All the stadiums are in a state of complete readiness and most pleasing is the pristine condition of the playing surfaces – fitting for the world’s superstars who will soon be gracing them,” said Dr Jordaan.
For the OC, the 2010 FIFA World Cup is far more than just a football tournament.
“Reconciliation and nation building is also an important aim of this World Cup. We want to make this country better and more united and I think we will achieve that. As we stand just days away now from the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup we can confidently say everything we have promised is now a reality. Through the hard work of tens of thousands of South Africans across the country we have shown the world that we do not just talk about being ready, we are ready,” said Jordaan.
“We always anticipated the day Nelson Mandela would walk out of prison. We always anticipated the day we would vote the first time. And now we anticipate the start of the FIFA World Cup in our country. When these things happen the joy is almost overwhelming. The tournament’s kickoff will be a huge day for so many South Africans. It will be a moment to cherish but, also, a moment to remember our past,” Jordaan added.
Also discussed at the Board meeting was the much anticipated Opening Ceremony, which will have a cast of over 2 000 and has been billed as ‘welcoming the world home’.
The ceremony will start promptly at 14h00 on 11 June at Soccer City. Fans are encouraged to arrive early and will be allowed access to the stadium from 10am on the day of the ceremony. Only ticket holders to the opening match between South Africa and Mexico will be allowed access to the Opening Ceremony, which will be broadcast live to millions of viewers around the world.