BRAZILIAN soccer icon Edson Arantes do Nascimento is the last person who should complain about security issues in South Africa ahead of the 2010 World Cup Cup.
Safa boss Kirsten Nematandani said yesterday the man, popularly known as Pele, had been to this country many times and left without a scratch.
Nematandani was reacting to reports in which Pele was quoted as saying the attack on the Togolese national team in Angola would have an effect on the security of the World Cup. Togo withdrew from the tournament after their bus was ambushed on arrival in Cabinda on January 8.
"We want to assure the world that they will be safe in South Africa," said Nematandani, who is also a board member of the LOC.
"People must remember that Africa has 52 countries. Angola is far away from South Africa.
"There is a perception in the world that Africa is a one country where people know each other.
"If that's really what Pele said, then he's being unfair. The security will be tight during the World Cup."
He said Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira and many other Brazilians felt safe here.
"There are many Brazilian soccer players and officials working in South Africa, in fact former Bafana coach Joel Santana, also returned to Brazil without a scratch.
"Brazil national team has been to South Africa on three occasions, the most recent one during last years Confederations Cup."
Pele said Nelson Mandela's presence could be key.
"What happened with Togo had an effect on the World Cup organisation," Pele told AP.
"I hope it turns out well. People are worried about Nelson Mandela's health. He's a man that has the support of all South Africans.
"The biggest worry at Fifa is if something happens to Mandela."
Fifa media officer Delia Fischer said: "Fifa president Sepp Blatter has said Madiba is architect of the 2010 World Cup. He is hoping to be with him at Soccer City when Bafana Bafana play Mexico in the opening match on June 11."