high praise for blatter

FIFA president Sepp Blatter was showered with accolades yesterday for his unwavering support for a successful 2010 World Cup in this country.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter was showered with accolades yesterday for his unwavering support for a successful 2010 World Cup in this country.

Irvin Khoza, Local Organising Committee chairperson, said South Africans, and Africans in general, were inspired by Blatter's courage, leadership and vision.

Khoza was speaking in Vanderbijlpark at the opening of the historic 2009 Football for Hope Forum, the first of its kind in world soccer circles.

"This momentous inaugural Football for Hope Forum 2009 is a testament to your indefatigable courage, that football is more [than a game]," Khoza said.

"You have shown us that the fairest game is truly in touch with the people of the world and that positive social development can be achieved when we fulfil the promise of football for hope.

"We are delighted that so many of the delegates have travelled to our magnificent shores at a time when we are hosting the beautiful game of football - the Fifa Confederations Cup.

"Football is the ideal vehicle for hope. Football is the most democratic of all sports, indeed of all institutions. Football rewards talent and skill, regardless of class or status."

Khoza said the 2010 World Cup "will be different because we are all together with the leading role of Fifa and streetfootball.com, committed to leaving an enduring legacy, not just of the professional game and its economic and sports opportunities.

"It will be different because of you and many others who share Fifa's vision to use football for the noble cause of promoting sustainable development.

"The challenge and indeed exciting potential is one of using football as a messenger of peace, as a medium of goodwill, as a tool for budding entrepreneurs, as a role model for nurturing professional football talent, as a gathering place for educating our youth on HIV-Aids," Khoza said.

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