give Africa a chance

THE world must give Africa a chance to show its ability to host major international events through the 2010 Fifa World Cup, which will be a great one.

THE world must give Africa a chance to show its ability to host major international events through the 2010 Fifa World Cup, which will be a great one.

This was the message delivered by Fifa president Sepp Blatter in a meeting with selected local and international media in Sandton yesterday.

"Trust Africa, they will deliver a great tournament in 2010. People don't trust Africa and it's wrong. Africa has given so much to the world, not only in football.

"Even our [Fifa] commercial partners believe that this World Cup will be a success. It is a moral responsibility that we [Fifa] do it for the African continent.

"Ask the actors on the field [players taking part in the Confederations Cup], they are so happy."

Blatter said Africa always had a candidate bidding for the World Cup, adding that the rotation system was a perfect opportunity for Fifa to plough back to the mother continent.

He singled out Morocco as one country that has unsuccessfully tried on several occasions to host the event, followed by Egypt, Nigeria and ultimate winner South Africa.

"If there was no rotation system introduced, there would be no World Cup here [in Africa]," said Blatter, who has repeatedly expressed confidence that South Africa will silence the doubting Thomases with a spectacular 2010 World Cup.

Regarding the Confederations Cup, Blatter and Jerome Valcke, his secretary-general, said they were happy with South Africa's organisation.

Valcke said: "On the issue of security, it went quite well, though we had some problems with the stewards who were appointed by the LOC [Local Organising Committee].

"We want to thank the South African government and Deputy Commissioner of Police [Andre] Pruis and the police - the world has seen that South Africa is able to host the tournament.

"The [Confederations Cup] teams are very happy with the accommodation. For us the best ambassadors are these players, who will say it's great."

Valcke said lack of accommodation in Mangaung was still a challenge for them, but he said they were confident of overcoming the challenge before the World Cup.

"Altogether we are in need of 15000 rooms for 2010. We are happy that there are developments for new hotels. We are dealing with the LOC on this issue."

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