African leaders arrive in SA

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pretoria - At least 20 African leaders have confirmed their attendance for the first World Cup to be held on the continent, and they will start arriving in the country today.
"At the present time, there are 20 African Heads of State who will definitely come. In addition, another 18 eminent persons have confirmed their attendance," Department of International Relations and Cooperation Director General Ayanda Ntsaluba said on Thursday.
Among some of the dignitaries who will attend the biggest soccer tournament ever will be Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
"We are really, really happy with the support that we have received from the African continent. Even during the time when some people were spreading rumours about South Africa's capacity to host the event, African countries stood on our side and were very clear in their defense of their understanding of the capacities that South Africa has," Ntsaluba explained.
He added that government also appreciated the mobilisation of volunteers from the African continent for the tournament.
"This shows that the African continent wants this to be a success," said Ntsaluba, adding that government wanted to ensure that the continent protected and projected the African character of the World Cup.
African leaders who are in the country will meet with President Jacob Zuma before the opening ceremony of the month-long tournament.