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Making good on Mzansi's promise to the world

By unknown | Sep 17, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Fifa president Sepp Blatter tells an anecdote of the time when he joined the football federation in February of 1976.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter tells an anecdote of the time when he joined the football federation in February of 1976.

Blatter says he decided then, that one day Africa should be given the opportunity to host the World Cup. And of course his wish and dream are currently unfolding.

He said this on his arrival in the country on Sunday whereafter he met President Thabo Mbeki.

Blatter is in the country to see first hand the progress that is being made by the various role-players in the preparations for the tournament.

He is also on a three-day visit to meet the leaders who made the case for the country to host the event as well as with ANC president Jacob Zuma.

During his stay here, Blatter repeatedly stated that he could not contradict his own dream of having the biggest sporting spectacle hosted on the African continent by suggesting that it be taken elsewhere.

He reiterated his confidence, based on observation and evidence, in the ability of the country to host a successful Confederations Cup and World Cup.

This visit and his comments, coupled with the heightened media interest in his visit, will go a long way towards dispelling doubts about the status of our right to host the World Cup.

We also appreciate that one of the leading broadcasters in the world, CNN, is running a well produced feature on South Africa and preparations for the event.

As Blatter himself said, the football extravaganza is not only about the building of infrastructure, but it is also about socio-cultural issues.

As the organising committee we are well aware of such and thus we took the opportunity to present our views on the role arts and culture, music more specifically, will play in the promotion of the World Cup and entertainment of football fans during the event to the Moshito music industry conference held in Johannesburg.

I was personally very encouraged by the positive response from the industry to our proposed approach.

The concept and programme that we are developing is based on a partnership between the organising committee, Sony BMG and the department of arts and culture and in a matter of months we should see the roll-out of the elements of this programme.

In less than a week's time we will be launching the mascot of the 2010 World Cup and already there is a lot of excitement about the features and name of the mascot in the media.

Come Monday evening the 22nd of September, the nation will be introduced to the iconic ambassador of the tournament.

A few days after that, thousands of school children will take part in the launch of the 2010 schools campaign that is championed by the organising committee and the department of education.

This will be the beginning of many public activities that will take the World Cup to the people. And the key here is for each and everyone of us to take ownership of the preparations.

I am convinced that it is the involvement of civil society and our children in the activities leading up to the World Cup that would make the event a memorable and special one for our society and our guests.

On the international stage, President Mbeki will also be doing his share of promoting the event when he speaks at the United Nations on the 25th of this month and of course this will be happening on the back of his successful mediation in Zimbabwe.

The message from all of us should be, it is possible, it is doable, and we will deliver our promise to the world to join us in celebrating our humanity


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