FIFA 2010 : South Africa marks a milestone in journey to 2010

With only 365 days to go, today marks another milestone in the road towards hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup, writes Proffesor Ndawonde.

In exactly one year, the first whistle will blow and the much-anticipated FIFA World Cup will kick off at Soccer City on Johannesburg.

The event is scheduled to take place between 11 June and 11 July 2010 in all nine Mzansi's provinces. All South Africans need to do is create a sense of patriotism and pride.

Millions of soccer enthusiasts will descend on the country not only to enjoy soccer but experience the country's rich heritage and culture - not least of all blowing the completely local vuvuzela.

World Cup fever has already been activated across the globe with several national teams wrestling to qualify for the tournament.

Although international giants like Brazil, Portugal, Argentina and England are uncertain about their future, soccer fans in Netherlands, Korea Republic, Australia and Japan are at ease as their national teams have already registered their names in the tournament.

Many have been questioning the preparedness of South Africa and whether the event will be a success, however, in the next 52 weeks, the country will certainly show its ready to stage the event and send ripples of confidence from Cape to Cairo.

The 2010 Local Organising Committee Chief Executive Committee, Dr Danny Jordaan indicated that virtually all the projects and plans are completed or nearing completion.

From stadia, transport infrastructure, security measures and accommodation, to health and immigration plans, the global soccer fraternity can rest assured that the World Cup will be a successful tournament.

It was a proud moment when FIFA President Sepp Blatter publicly announced, after the world class 2010 World Cup Preliminary Draw event held in Durban in 2007, that South Africa was more than capable of hosting one of the world's largest events.

During his visit in September 2008, Mr Blatter said South Africa was doing a good job with regards to preparing for the 2010 World Cup and should not be bothered by criticism.

The 1995 Rugby World Cup, 2003 Cricket World Cup and 2009 Cricket Indian Premier League should not be forgotten as successfully hosted tournaments.

In addition, government is set to deliver on its commitments to FIFA.

Speaking to BuaNews, spokesperson for government's 2010 unit, Tiyane Rokhotso affirmed that government was at ease that the country would deliver on its guarantees.

In his State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma affirmed before the public that South Africa was on track to meet all its obligations and was determined to give the world the best World Cup ever.

President Zuma confirms that of the biggest infrastructure investment projects of the government's newly-formed Infrastructure Development Cluster is in the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup.

"We have, as government and the nation at large, pledged that the World Cup will leave a proud legacy from which our children and our communities will benefit for many years to come," he said.

This event will, without a doubt, be used as a catalyst to shift perceptions about the country and the rest of the African continent.

As Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe declared that the event should be used as a platform to showcase South Africa to the world and to change the perceptions of the country.

"The true legacy of this spectacle will be in our ability to showcase South African and African hospitality and humanity - to change once and for all perceptions of our country and our continent among the peoples of the world," he said.
Former President Thabo Mbeki once declared that historians would reflect upon the 2010 World Cup as a moment when Africa stood tall and resolutely turned the ride on centuries of poverty and conflict.

"We want to show that Africa's time has come," he said. Indeed Ke Nako - the Time has come to celebrate Africa's Humanity - BuaNews