World Cup a second liberation for SA

CAPE TOWN.Deputy President Kgalema Mothlanthe adresses the
CAPE TOWN.Deputy President Kgalema Mothlanthe adresses the "FIFA World Cup 2010:Building a legacy for Africa" session at the second day of the World Economic Forum 11 June 2009.Pic:Trevor Samson

LONDON - Winning the right to stage next year's World Cup was a moment on a par with the end of apartheid, according to the chief organiser of the soccer extravaganza.

LONDON - Winning the right to stage next year's World Cup was a moment on a par with the end of apartheid, according to the chief organiser of the soccer extravaganza.

Danny Jordaan said in an interview on Sunday that when the envelope was opened in 2004 granting South Africa the 2010 event, "I think it was almost a second liberation for us, it was a huge moment of joy... the second affirmation of the worth of our country".

"For me, to think back on special moments in our history: the day that Nelson Mandela walked out of prison, the day that we voted for the first time in 1994 - the beginning of democracy in our country - this day (winning the World Cup bid) stands equal, if not ahead, as an experience and a significant development in the history of our country."

Jordaan said his primary emotion before the decision in Zurich was fear that South Africa would fail to win the event, as it narrowly did for the 2006 World Cup, which was awarded to Germany. He said such a blow would have hurt the whole of Africa.

"Fear that defeat will again destroy any belief in our country that we should make a bid not just for the World Cup but for any other major event, and secondly that the doubt on the continent would be strengthened, certainly from the Southern African point of view."

Jordaan has said winning the World Cup bid might have a major impact in bringing the races together in nationalist fervour in South Africa.

"You must understand the background that it comes from. From a country where the majority of people were told over 300 years you are less, simply because of the colour of your skin.

"All those issues welled up in us." - Reuters

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