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The CEO of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa (OC) has welcomed 2010 as a year which represents one of the greatest and grandest nation building initiatives ever undertaken since the death of apartheid.

Danny Jordaan said the 2010 FIFA World Cup would leave a substantial economic legacy for the host country with the once-in-a-lifetime marketing opportunity expected to make South Africa a more widely known and understood tourism destination.

“This is the year when as a nation, we will open our doors, hearts and sporting spirits to the world.  This is our time. This is our year,” Jordaan said in a statement.

Jordaan paid tribute to the teams, players and officials who will participate in this biggest sporting event.

“The world best players will be here. Besides leading Argentina and winning the 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year, Lionel Messi, has impressed on his club, Barcelona. The 5-foot-6-inch forward can take on two or three defenders at a time and could turn a few heads (and ankles) come World Cup time. And he and the other 10 best football players in the World will be on one stage here," said the CEO in a press statement.

The FIFPro and FIFA World X1 players who will be here representing their countries, include Iker Casillas (Real Madrid and Spain); Nemanja Vidic, Manchester United and Serbia; Daniel Alves, Barcelona and Brazil), John Terry (Chelsea and England), Patrice Evra (Manchester United and France); Steven Gerrard (Liverpool and England), Xavi and Andres Iniesta (both Barcelona and Spain); Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid and Portugal)  and Fernando Torres (Liverpool and Spain).

“For these players and hundreds others, South Africa will be their stage and the African continent their theatre to display their technical skills. Let us not miss the opportunity to marvel, admire and enjoy their skills,” Jordaan said.

Jordaan said the successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup is the responsibility of all South Africans.

He said following the successful staging of the Confederations Cup and the FIFA Final Draw, the world has now seen South Africa is ready to stage the 2010 World Cup finals. Our delivery of the events was top class.

“For five years, we have worked hard. The true image of the next few months before the kick off is rosy. What is needed is greater public enthusiasm for the event. All ten stadiums to be used for World Cup matches have been completed. Out of the 10 selected stadiums only five were constructed from scratch. The rest needed minor upgrades to meet some technical requirements as per FIFA specifications.

“Plans for other support infrastructure are on track: roads, transport and support services like security and safety, information communication and technology, and health services from various departments at national level are being finalised.    

“The South African government is upgrading roads, airports and mass transit systems in preparation for the event.

"A beefed-up high-tech transport system of buses, trains and taxis will be available South Africa-wide to move the football faithful around.

“Our government and the construction industry are confident they can cope with the massive amount of work required to finish the refurbishment of roads, airports and other infrastructural developments,” he stated.

Jordaan said South Africa has benefited and will benefit economically from the World Cup on home soil. The World Cup has created hundreds of jobs. It has created a lot of opportunities for many thousands of South Africans.

“On the security front, we believe in a justice system that can respond to the breaking of law and order. The government is giving us strong backing with regards to security measures and we will have a safe and secure World Cup tournament. The government is hiring an additional 55,000 police officers, boosting the force by 15 per cent. I am satisfied fans, teams and the public will be safe during the 2010 World Cup finals.

“The challenge now is to mobilise the nation – the country needs each and every South African in their workplaces and their communities to stand up and decide what they are doing to welcome the world in 2010. Every South African must ask himself or herself: What am I doing to be a good host of the FIFA 2010 World Cup.

“Over 15,000 volunteers from 52 countries will soon be selected and begin training to help us deliver the games and host the multitudes of visitors. This is just one of the many ways that the nations of the world will get involved in this historic opportunity. What are you doing to be a good host?

“From now until the end of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, every South African must play their part in ensuring we come together as one nation to deliver the best FIFA World Cup ever,” Jordaan concluded.

Peter Pedroncelli, Goal.com

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