Four Years Later

On May 15, 2004, FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced South Africa would host the 2010 World Cup. Four years and much construction later, Blatter considers himself vindicated for championing SA.

Nelson Mandela was on hand in Zurich when FIFA awarded the World Cup to South Africa. (Getty Images)  

Blatter says he retains his faith in South Africa’s ability to put on a top tournament.

“And the world has shown their trust in South Africa with major global companies and broadcasters investing heavily in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and further companies poised to do so,” he said.

Local Organizing Committee chairman Irvin Khoza says he expects World Cup spectators to spend more than $5.3 billion in South Africa during the 2010 tournament. But he and others concede that South Africa still has work to do to convince tourists to visit.

The chief executive of South African Tourism says the building boom around the World Cup will help stem the street crime that dogs the country’s tourism industry.

Zulu dancers and many others celebrated in the streets of Johannesburg on May 15, 2004. (Getty Images)  

South African Tourism, a promotional group, has launched a specialty website to help bring together tourists and the hospitality industry.

“There was a huge gap in the industry over the last two years as to regular and accurate information with what’s happening in 2010, and this was an attempt to address that gap,” says Sugen Pillay, global manager for events at SAT, speaking to national media. The new SAT Stakeholder Portal offers a message board, contacts, accommodation links, marketing info and other news to help the hospitality industry take advantage of the World Cup and to show consumers their choices.

The 2010 LOC marked the anniversary in a low-key tree-planting at a school in North West province and a dinner outside of Johannesburg.

CEO Danny Jordaan says he will always remember the announcement from FIFA.

“It was a moment I will never forget for the rest of my life, along with the release from prison of Nelson Mandela,” he says in a written statement.

Sudan-Chad Match on Schedule Despite Diplomatic Break

Sudan and Chad will meet for a World Cup qualifier on May 31 though the two countries are not on diplomatic terms.

The Sudanese Football Association is on track to host the match at El-Merriekh Stadium just outside Khartoum, says FIFA spokesman Nicolas Maingot.

Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir cut relations with Chad last weekend after an attack on Khartoum by Darfur rebels. Al-Bashir accuses Chad of training and supporting the fighters.

Written by Maggie Lee

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