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13 May 2009 17:58
That dreams can come true was the message that 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee CEO Danny Jordaan delivered to hundreds of students at the Cida City Campus in Johannesburg on Wednesday afternoon.
Jordaan told a packed hall of enthusiastic students that former president Nelson Mandela had seen his dream of uniting South Africa and achieving a non-racial society come true.
He told the students of Cida University (Community of Individual Development Association) that the 2010 World Cup would open up opportunities for the youth of the country.
Jordaan added that for 103 years the soccer world looked down on Africa and refused to give the continent the chance of hosting the World Cup finals.
Said Jordaan: “The rest of the world said it would be a financial and organisational disaster to give an African country the opportunity to host the World Cup.”
But Jordaan told the students that he and his committee never gave up their dream and they were now reaping the benefits of hard work and perseverance.
“We believe we will host the best ever World Cup.
We have already proved that we can do it.
“Madiba was our role-model and he should be yours as well. He showed the world what we as South Africans could achieve without any help from the international community. We followed his example and we have two of the biggest soccer events [the Confederations Cup and World Cup] on the planet here in our country in the next 12 months.”
Jordaan encouraged the students to set goals and strive to achieve those goals.
The Confederations Cup which kicks off at Ellis Park on June 14 when Bafana Bafana host Asian champions Iraq and next year’s World Cup finals would create 415 000 new jobs.
Said Jordaan: “About 20 000 of those are in the construction of new stadiums around the country for the World Cup. As a reward we have given each worker on the stadium sites two free kicks to the matches at the stadiums they helped construct in order that they can see what they have achieved with their labour.”
Jordaan said that South Africa needed more skilled people and that Cida, which was a business including tourism and IT higher level institution not funded by the government, could help supply those skills.
“Tourism is a huge industry and we are hoping to attract 450 000 tourists at the World Cup. It is a target well within our reach. Ticket sales for the World Cup are going through the roof with fans from over 203 countries having already applied to buy tickets.”
He encouraged the students to support both the Confederations Cup and World Cup.
“We want to show the world that South Africa is a friendly and happy country where international companies can invest. We must use these events as national building. We will never get another chance like this to showcase what strides we have made since Madiba was inaugurated as president in 1994. It is too good an opportunity for us to let slip.”
But Jordaan was not as confident about Bafana Bafana playing against the world’s best next month and a year later.
The national soccer team and its head coach Joel Santana are under pressure to reach the semifinals of the Confederations Cup.
They are in Group A with Iraq, New Zealand and the world’s top ranked country Spain.
World champions Italy, the United States and Egypt are in Group B. The top two teams in each group qualify for the semifinals.
Said Jordaan: “The confidence around the country is sky high about the fact we can successfully host the two events. But I am not so sure about how Bafana will do. That is an issue for another day.”—Sapa
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