Fifa president gives South Africa the thumbs up

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Sepp Blatter, Fifa president, yesterday reiterated his call that South Africa and no any other country will host the 2010 World Cup.

Speaking at a media briefing at Soccer City, which is being upgraded, Blatter urged Africans to disregard reports that the World Cup will take place on another continent.

"It's a great pleasure to be back in South Africa, Africa my continent, especially in Jo'burg. What we are seeing here is great," said Blatter, pointing to the renovations to Soccer City in the background.

"It will be a wonderful World Cup. There is nothing that can be against the 2010 World Cup being organised in South Africa,"

"When you are doing something good, there will always be people out there who will be jealous about what you are doing.

"We at Fifa are confident that South Africa will organise a great World Cup, far better than Germany (2006), Korea and Japan (2002)."

Blatter also used the opportunity to thank the African soccer family for backing him at the recent Fifa congress where he was re-elected president.

The Fifa president brought construction to a virtual stop as workers on site came to listen to him.

Blatter, accompanied by LOC chairman Irvin Khoza, won the hearts of many people by going to shake hands with the workers and posing for photos with them.

Khoza said they were delighted that South Africa was the first country Blatter was visiting after being re-elected Fifa president for a new four-year term.

"We want to acknowledge his confidence and trust in Africa, and also the fact that they appointed Issa Hayatou as Fifa chairman of the 2010 World Cup committee.

"This is commendable, especially with this year being the International Year of Football," said Khoza, adding that Blatter will be visiting Cape Town for an inspection tour.

This morning, Blatter will open the Business Opportunities Conference in Kempton Park, which will be attended by government, labour and business.

He said he was looking forward to a meeting with Cape Town mayor Helen Zille. He will also meet President Thabo Mbeki.