fifa hat trick for africa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Africans have been presented with a golden opportunity in 2009 to showcase their ability to host major international sports competitions.

This is according to Danny Jordaan, Local Organising Committee chief executive, ahead of the three Fifa competitions that will take place in Africa next year.

The three events are the Confederations Cup in South Africa, the World Under-17 Championships in Nigeria and World Youth Championships in Egypt.

"Next year is a big challenge, not only to South Africa but the entire continent as we will be hosting three big Fifa tournaments," said Jordaan.

"It will be the first time in the history of Fifa that three competitions take place in one continent in the same year. Africa must show the world that we are equally capable of hosting major sporting tournaments.

"It will also lay a solid foundation for future competitions like the Olympic Games. We really have to impress in all three tournaments.

"Next year, we will also be focusing on the qualification rounds of the 2010 World Cup to know which 31 countries will join Bafana Bafana in the finals. It is important to have high-profile teams qualifying so that the ticket sales can also be good.

"At the 2006 World Cup, England and the Netherlands each had 110000 fans. Japan had 65000 fans and Brazil 35000. The Germans had even greater support, as the hosts.

"In Africa, we also have countries with big support like Cameroon, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Ghana - it will also be important that they also qualify.

"With the Confederations Cup coming here in June, the focus will be on Bafana Bafana and Egypt to give us an idea of how the African teams will fare in 2010," said Jordaan.

"We need to have one or two African teams in the semifinals."