South Africa to Surprise Its Critics - Blatter

Published on Saturday 13th June 2009

FIFA President Sepp Blatter says those who underestimate South Africa will be proven wrong by the country's capability of hosting major international events such as the FIFA Confederations Cup.

"South Africa is one of the best countries in the world and I want to assure you that this country will successfully host the FIFA Confederations Cup and will surprise its critics to a maximum extent," he said.

Speaking at a press briefing on Friday, Mr Blatter said the world should rally behind South Africa and the African continent because it has all the facilities to host FIFA's major events.

"I have no doubt South Africa will host a great Confederations Cup. We must trust them. Even now there are media in Europe who ask me about South Africa. I tell them it will work and I have no reason to doubt that I am right in my judgement of. It is now time to enjoy the soccer," Mr Blatter said.

He said the FIFA Confederations Cup will indeed reveal to the world that South Africa will successfully host a best FIFA World Cup ever and it is the question of wait and see.

The FIFA Confederations Cup will set in motion tomorrow with Bafana Bafana locking horns with Asian Champions, Iraq at the opening match in Coca Cola Park, Johannesburg.

Mr Blatter has complemented the LOC and South African government for fulfilling FIFA Confederations Cup preparations, saying that the FIFA executive committee was satisfied with all plans and the committee is looking forward to the historic event in Africa.

"The enthusiasm and bliss is there within the committee and we are proud of South Africa. We have witnessed the preparations and we are content," the FIFA president said.

He has assured the international community that in terms of security measures, South Africa is all set, adding that there is no country, across the globe, which has no crime problems, and therefore people must shift negative perceptions and enjoy soccer.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the 2010 World Cup FIFA Organising Committee, Issa Hayatou, who has been appointed Chairman of the 2010 World Cup Organising Committee, said South Africa has delivered to all FIFA requirements.

"From security measures, transport, accommodation to stadiums, South Africa has delivered to FIFA requirements and the next two weeks will tell.

"We want to assure the international community that the FIFA Confederations Cup will be staged in a good condition and we are pleased with LOC plans and government's commitment," said Mr Hayatou, who is also Confederation of African Football (CAF) President.

LOC Chairman, Irvin Khoza said in the next two weeks, FIFA Confederations Cup period, South Africa and the African continent will celebrate Africa's humanity, adding that critics will be proven wrong.

Dr Khoza said FIFA and LOC have to applaud the government and all South Africans for having fervor of hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup.


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