'We are among the best in world'

South Africa has silenced the doomsayers and delivered a resounding first-ever African soccer World Cup.

South Africa has silenced the doomsayers and delivered a resounding first-ever African soccer World Cup.

They had talked about a "plan B" of Australia hosting the tournament in case we failed. They said there would be mayhem, murders and wild animals roaming the streets . but swallowed their words when they sat in world-class stadiums and watched as the country delivered on promises made in 2004 when we won the bid.

Soccer stars, celebrities, royalty, heads of state and media from all over the world descended on and experienced this country's beauty and world-class hospitality.

"We are among the best," said Local Organising Committee chief executive Danny Jordaan.

South Africans extended their hospitality and welcomed guests just as they did during the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2003.

The forever optimistic Fifa president Sepp Blatter has thrown his weight behind the country's possible bid for the 2020 Olympic Games. Hot on his heels was olympic committee president Jacques Ragge, who heaped praises on South Africa's success.

The country and the rest of Africa waited with bated breath as years became months, and months turned into weeks, then days and then hours.

South Africa erupted into a euphoria never seen before and stood as one in Bafana colours, with some going as far as painting their cars and houses with the colours of our beautiful flag.

The opening ceremony, the first match between Bafana and Mexico, and the spectacular closing ceremony last night will forever be engraved in our minds.

The Black Stars of Ghana carried our hopes as they made it to the second round. Though Bafana did not advance to the second round, they had us celebrating after they beat France.

Our jaws dropped when Netherlands stopped Brazil from advancing to the semifinals, and the call for goal line technology intensified when England's Frank Lampard's "goal" was denied.

The diski dance has gone global, and so has our own vuvuzela, sending social networks such as Facebook and Twitter buzzing about the unique plastic horn that has been part of the local soccer culture.

Google listed the United Kingdom, the US and the United Arab Emirates as the three countries that googled the most to find places to buy the vuvuzela.

We made our mark. We waved the flags and sang the Waka Waka.

We made the world notice much more than it did in 1994 when democracy first dawned. Now we wave goodbye to the world, until we meet again here for another sporting spectacle.