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THE World Cup matches around the country are forging "long-term friendships".
That's according to MEC for economic development and tourism Mike Mabuyakhulu.
He was speaking minutes before the Netherlands took on Japan on Saturday in Durban. The Dutch won 1-0.
Mabuyakhulu was hosting guests at the popular restaurant Moyo on the Pier on Durban's beachfront.
He said while the game of soccer lasts only 90 minutes, long-term friendships resulted from the interactions that were taking place with fans, VIPs and South African citizens.
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize has already played host to close to 500 dignitaries since the start of the soccer spectacle.
Having wined and dined VIPs that included ambassadors, consul-generals, investment bankers and decision-makers, Mkhize believed that Durban's three World Cup pre-match events have already expounded the virtues of the province at business and tourism levels.
"KwaZulu-Natal saw the necessity of hosting platforms to wish the teams good luck but more importantly to make friends that would last long after the World Cup has come and gone," Mabuyakhulu said.
The consul of Poland in Durban, Andrzej Kiepela, was also at the pre-match event.
"There was a lot of negative press in South Africa and abroad prior to the event that Africa would be unable to host a successful World Cup," Kiepela said. "They have all been proved wrong."
A German financier, Helmut Bulle, said though South Africa and Germany were more than 15000km apart, he felt the two countries were "neighbours" while the honorary consul for Mauritius in Durban, Nirode Bramdaw, said the atmosphere that prevailed at each of the pre-match functions was "electrifying".