'It will be a real cracker'

IMPRESSED: Former Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard. 19/06/2007. Pic. Lefty Shivambu. © Gallo Images.
IMPRESSED: Former Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard. 19/06/2007. Pic. Lefty Shivambu. © Gallo Images.

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

South Africa has received a thumbs-up from Dutch soccer legend Frank Rijkaard as it prepares to host a successful the 2010 World Cup.

Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, Rijkaard, who coached Barcelona FC, said the country will host a roaring 2010 World Cup.

"From what I have seen in South Africa there is no shadow of doubt in my mind that your country will host a memorable World Cup next year," he said.

"South Africa and Africa as a whole will never be the same after you have hosted the tournament of this magnitude. There is already an air of anticipation for 2010 among a horde of South Africans that I have met since my arrival here on Sunday. It shows that people are ready for the spectacle. It is a good attitude."

Rijkaard said hosting the global event will also elevate the status of South Africa across the globe, saying it would also help market and promote the country.

Rijkaard, who was once touted for the Bafana Bafana coaching job, is in the country on a two-week tour to conduct community projects.

He has joined 20 of South Africa's ex-professionals on a soccer project started by Wits Football Club in partnership with the Netherlands embassy and Hillbrow South African Police Service.

"It's such a great feeling to be here in South Africa and I'm enjoying every moment of my stay here," he said.

"It has been great working with the ex-professionals of South Africa.

"It gives me great pleasure to be involved in a sustainable community project such as this one. The development of the youth in football is very important in every country."

Rijkaard played professionally for Ajax Amsterdam (Holland), Real Zaragoza (Spain) and AC Milan (Italy). He represented his country 73 times.

Regarding reports that he was also job hunting in South Africa, Rijkaard said: "That is not true. I came here to help on this project of coaching South African youngsters."

He also denied that Mamelodi Sundowns president Patrice Motsepe was courting him to guide The Brazilians next season.