2010 World Cup a love story - Blatter

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Durban - FIFA President Sepp Blatter has described the upcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup as a "love story" that was becoming a reality.

"The FIFA Soccer World Cup in Africa is a love story and I am happy that this love story is coming together and is becoming a real wedding party. Africans have waited for a very long time; the dream is now a reality.

"The African population believes in this world cup and South Africa has come a long way, a long way paved with trust, confidence and patience. And I have trust and confidence that South Africa will give something back to the rest of Africa," he said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the official 100 days countdown to the 2010 FIFA World Cup celebrations at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, he said although many people in the world of football had to be convinced about South Africa's ability to host a successful World Cup, he had no doubt that the country would give back to the rest of Africa and the world.

FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke also reiterated his confidence in South Africa hosting a spectacular event, saying it was "all systems go".

"The stadiums are ready, while there is a bit of work to do on some pitches and the roads. All that needs to be done will be done ahead of the world cup. I am not afraid or concerned about the host cities not being ready, but we cannot waste a single minute," he said.

Valcke added that South Africa had invested more money in infrastructure, transport and communication in the last five years which indicated that the country was committed and ready to host a memorable World Cup.

"Many countries in Europe dream to have stadiums as good as this one [Moses Mabhida]," he said.

"This is the legacy for the country. These are the structures where our kids will play. Players will want to play in the professional leagues in South Africa and not want to leave for Europe," he said.