World Cup 2010: FIFA President Sepp Blatter & South Africa President Jacob Zuma Declare Tournament Open And Hail Nelson Mandela

The opening ceremony was tinged with sadness as Nelson Mandela could not be present...
The 2010 World Cup was officially declared open by Sepp Blatter and Jacob Zuma in speeches prior to the opening encounter between South Africa and Mexico.

With the opening ceremony out of the way and the teams ready to begin the game, Blatter spoke of his pride at seeing the competition take place in Africa.

“The FIFA World Cup is in South Africa,” he told the packed crowd at Soccer City. “Thank you. Congratulations to the African population, thank you to South Africa that we can stage this World Cup here. A dream came true even if he's not here tonight, but the spirit of Mandela is in Soccer City.”

South African President Zuma, meanwhile, delivered a message from Nelson Mandela, who was unable to attend the opening ceremony due to the tragic death of his great-granddaughter in a car accident on Thursday.

“Firstly let me convey the message from our icon, who wanted to be with us to greet you before the start of the match but unfortunately there was a tragedy in the Mandela family,” Zuma said. “But he said the game must start, you must enjoy the game.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we as a country are humbled by this honour to host one of the biggest tournaments of the world. Africa is indeed happy. This is the African World Cup… I declare the 2010 FIFA World Cup open.”

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