The Embassy of South Africa in Israel

‘World, welcome!’ – Jacob Zuma on 2010

stadium

With the stadiums all approaching completion and the 32 teams for the 2010 Fifa World Cup™ decided, Organising Committee CEO Danny Jordaan speaks to South African President Jacob Zuma on the eve of the Final Draw in Cape Town.

Jordaan: Thank you Mr President for giving us some time. Outside our headquarters next to Soccer City stadium, 32 flags are now flying. These are the flags of the 32 countries that will be part of Africa’s first Fifa World Cup™. What is your message to those who have qualified and will now come to our country?

Zuma: We welcome them with warm hearts. It has been a long journey, a journey first and foremost to have the World Cup on our continent. When we won the right to host the event it was almost as if we had won the World Cup because it was such a historic event.

Having done that, South Africa then said that this World Cup is not just hosted by South Africa, we are hosting it on behalf of the continent.

So when we say to the countries that have qualified, “Welcome”, it is actually Africa welcoming the world to come and play in South Africa. I am sure they will not be disappointed. Qualifying is not a small matter; it is one of the biggest challenges of this tournament.

Jordaan: What is your message to ordinary South Africans who love this game, and who must next year play host. What do you expect from them?

Zuma: To South Africans I would like to say please welcome the visitors who are coming to be with us, handle them with care. If I were to put it in Zulu I would say sibaphathe kahle, that is what we say when we stress that we must handle the visitors with care. Show them love; show them hospitality; be nice to them.

They are our friends, all of the people who are going to come here are our friends. Let us show them who we are − how proud we are as a nation, and how caring we are. Come in your big numbers to support the teams, but of course when it comes to Bafana Bafana do it extra, do it the South African way.

Let us display the Rainbow Nation to the world, let us display that here in the southern tip of Africa where humankind originated from, we can make the home of everyone.

Jordaan: I know you are a Bafana Bafana supporter but if, as you said earlier, this is to be an African World Cup, we want all African teams to do well. We have one of the best line-ups of African teams ever at a World Cup coming here next year − Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Algeria, Cameroon and Nigeria. Do you think that this will be an African tournament for African teams?

Zuma: Today the standard of football in Africa is very high; it has even improved since the last World Cup. I am convinced the World Cup will remain in South Africa at the end, but supposing it did not remain here it must not leave the continent. That is the duty of all six African teams.