Pretoria - The 2010 FIFA World Cup Local Organising Committee (LOC) has congratulated Nigeria, Cameroon and New Zealand after qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup at the weekend.
In a do or die weekend of football, Nigeria, Cameroon and New Zealand all secured their spot for Africa's maiden World Cup.
They join Japan, Netherlands, North Korea, Australia, South Korea, USA, Brazil, Ghana, England, Paraguay, Spain, Denmark, Cote d'Ivoire, Chile, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Serbia, Switzerland, Argentina, Honduras, Slovakia and South Africa, as hosts, who have already qualified for the tournament.
LOC Chief Executive Officer, Danny Jordaan said it was gratifying that the lineup for next year's tournament was almost complete.
Nigeria beat Kenya 3-2 to book their place in the football showpiece next year. Jordaan said the LOC was honoured to have Nigeria, an African football superpower in the World Cup.
"As we have seen from the three FIFA tournaments already held in Africa this year it is the African teams that are performing well. I am confident Nigeria has a good chance in 2010 and its team will certainly feel the full support of South Africans in the tournament," he said.
Nigeria made their first appearance in the finals of the World Cup in 1994 in United States of America, where they made it past the first round at the first attempt, and they went on to play at the 1998 and 2002 tournaments.
The team lost out to Angola for a place at the most recent edition of the World Cup.
Cameroon qualified after beating Morocco 2-0. Jordaan said the Indomitable Lions were one of the best chances for a team from Africa to enjoy success at the tournament next year.
"We welcome our brothers from West Africa to football's biggest festival. With their skill, flair and experience, Cameroon is sure to win over hundreds of new fans during the tournament. Since the days of Roger Milla in the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the US, they have become synonymous with entertainment and we expect next year to be no different," he said.
Cameroon is Africa's most successful side and has now qualified for the FIFA World Cup six times in 1982, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002 and now 2010, more than any other African nation.
They were the first African team to reach the Quarter Finals of the World Cup, in 1990, losing to England in extra time. They have also won four African Nations Cups, as well as the gold medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
New Zealand booked their position in the tournament after beating Bahrain 1-0. Jordaan said it is a privilege to welcome New Zealand back to South Africa next year.
"They were certainly a welcome addition to the tournament and received great support from South Africans during the FIFA Confederations Cup earlier in the year.
He said they can be assured that they will be part of a world-class tournament in 2010 and that the South African public will once again welcome them with open arms," said Jordaan.
Their qualification last night has ended a long-standing FIFA World Cup drought for the All Whites who last qualified for the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain.
The remaining nations are expected to qualify this Wednesday to complete the 32 places for the 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament.