Football festival ends in South Afrika
On Sunday 11 July, the curtains came down in South Afrika at
the 2010 FIFA World Cup held peacefully for the first time
in Afrika. It was indeed a great football festival which
started with a superb two-hour cultural show full of pomp
and pageantry at Johannesburg's Soccer City rebuilt in the
shape of a multi-coloured calabash.
Yet, it has been a long journey from Zurich where FIFA
president Sepp Blatter declared South Afrika as having won
the right to host the 2010 World Cup on 15 May 2004. For
many people in Africa, this was an unbelievable relief and
an occasion for euphoric and joyous celebrations. However,
it was not easy to win the bid and it took an active
involvement of the former president Nelson Mandela. Despite
his huge image and the power of his personality, there were
still many naysayers and detractors who thought wrongly
that, Afrika was not able to pull it off successfully.
So lend me your ears, ladies and gentlemen, because the
fact-sheet is out and it contains this message: The 2010
World Cup was the most successful tournament by all
standards in the history of Federation Internationale De
Football Association (FIFA). The organization was smooth
and perfect. Attendance at matches went beyond expectation
shattering the American record from 1994, and where else if
not in Afrika, could you have such colourful and multitude
of passionate fans in a sustained party mood for a whole
month. Yes, Afrika knows how to welcome visitors and we
know how to throw a splendid party too.
So, you are probably familiar with the sound of vuvuzela by
now and you may have already experienced what jabulani is
at the event where an excellent and expertly organized
football fiesta in Afrika brought the peoples of the World
much closer together in the spirit of Ubuntu. Sports and
football in particular has the potential of uniting a
country, continent and people across cultures. FIFA has
done well in that respect.
We therefore take this opportunity to wish all participating
national teams and fans safe travel home and extend
congratulations to Spain for winning their first World Cup
trophy. As we look expectantly toward Brazil in 2014, we
hope for better luck next time for Afrikan teams.
Although the expected great performance by teams from Afrika
did not materialize, we take consolation in the fact that
South Afrika has presented the world with a spectacular and
flawless tournament on behalf of whole continent. This
makes it difficult if not impossible for any one outside
our continent to doubt the ability of the Afrikan to
succeed in any endeavour. And this is then the enduring
legacy of this year's World Cup in South Afrika. President
Zuma is already talking about South Afrika hosting the
Olympics. And why not?
So as we keep improving, hopefully, our effort to excel will
be crowned with Afrika's first FIFA World Cup trophy in
Brazil, come 2014.
Finally, let us not forget to express our appreciation by
Thank you former president Nelson Mandela
Thank you FIFA president Sepp Blatter
Thank you South Afrika
Thank you Afrika
And thank you the peoples of the World who believed in
Africa. Lets meet again at the football carneval in Brazil.
Afrikatu Kofi Nkrumah