Organisers of the Confederations Cup on Friday hailed the tournament for uniting South Africans in a way no other sporting code has managed.
After a slow start, the tournament of continental champions has been embraced by a country that is better known for its cricket and rugby teams.
Vuvuzela-blowing fans have turned out en masse to support the South African side despite the cold weather, but also to see some of their favourite stars from Spain, Brazil and Italy.
Average attendances have been around 36 000 so far, with most fans locals.
”For me this was a test event for the organising committee and for Fifa but I must say for South Africa it has been an historic moment,” said Irvin Khoza, chairman of the local organising committee.
”Never in the history of this country have we seen South Africans so united on the field of play. The spectators showed that all of South Africa can be united facing the same direction.
”The Confederations Cup has achieved what no other sporting code has achieved. This was the greatest achievement of this tournament.”
At the same press conference, FIFA president said he was ”generally satisfied” with how the tournament had gone, paying special tribute to the fair play of the teams and the enthusiasm of the supporters.
”One compliment I must give is for the fair play on the field and by the spectators,” said Blatter, who was instrumental in bringing the Confederations Cup and the World Cup to Africa for the first time.
”Thousands and thousands of fans have come and more than 90% were South Africans.
”In all the matches so far the wonderful face of the public of South Africa must be commended. It is very special.” — AFP