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The Fifa World Cup is being held in Africa for the very first time in the history of the tournament. This is a unique moment in the history of the continent.

South Africa has been chosen to not only stage the World Cup in 2010 but also to carry the hopes, dreams and aspirations of Africa, and especially, African football.

The choice of Africa as a theatre for this spectacular event and South Africa as a stage provides a golden opportunity to change perceptions about Africa and to influence public opinion around the globe. Our vision is to strengthen the South African and African image and promote new partnerships with the world as we stage a unique and memorable event.

In staging the event, we will also inspire and drive our collective determination to be significant global players in all fields of human endeavour. We will rally our people and mobilise them to organise an African World Cup with precision, innovation and flair, and a critical component of our mission is to extend an unforgettable South African welcome to the world.

South Africa's journey and bid to host the Fifa World Cup began more than 13 years ago on September 16, 1994. This was before the successful hosting of the 1995 International Rugby Board World Cup and the International Cricket Council World Cup in 2003. We also tried unsuccessfully to host the 2004 Olympic Games, the 2006 Fifa soccer World Cup and the 2011 IRB World Cup. We have consistently as a country and as a sporting fraternity made great strides to make South Africa an international destination of choice for tourists around the world. Our message has over the years remained the same. We have repeatedly said to the world that South Africa is alive with possibilities and we have always spoken about the natural beauty and warmth of the African people from Cape to Cairo.

In our planning to deliver the World Cup, a number of cities were considered, including Cape Town, because of its historical significance and beauty. The iconic beauty of Table Mountain and Robben Island and the refreshing drive along Chapman's Peak and Cape Point remain compelling selling points for the city of Cape Town as an international attraction and global destination.

The beauty of Cape Town also lies in its people and the wealth of talent that comes from the city.

Cape Town has produced international football stars such as Benni McCarthy from Hanover Park, Quinton Fortune from Kewtown and Shaun Bartlett from Maitland, who have all made South Africans proud across the world.

Millions of young South Africans have been inspired by the likes of McCarthy, who continues to bang in the goals in the English Premier League. His achievements should warm the hearts of all South Africans, considering he started life in his parents Dora and Dudley's two-roomed council house with his siblings in Hanover Park and has now fulfilled his wildest dreams and used his football talents to provide for his family in a way he could never have imagined possible.

Many of the young children who grow up in the streets of Gugulethu and the rest of the Cape Flats, and those youngsters playing football in Camps Bay or Llandudno, draw hope and inspiration from such talent. And what better way to reward and inspire them than to bring the World Cup to Cape Town and create access for them to state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure, such as the Green Point Stadium.

Green Point Stadium was chosen as the ideal space to build a new complex for the tournament after careful consideration. The City of Cape Town conducted various studies to satisfy itself of the appropriateness of the choice of venue. After all, there is nothing new about Green Point Stadium. To refresh our national memory, during our bid to host the Olympics, Green Point Stadium was chosen as one of the venues to host the Games. At the time of the bid, there were extensive plans to construct an Olympic tennis facility within and around the existing football and athletics stadium at Green Point Stadium.

Fourteen temporary units with spectator stands were to be erected, along with a centre court seating 21 000 and a number one court seating 7 000 within the existing stadium. Everyone at the time accepted that Green Point was an ideal venue to host the Olympics. Now, there is the opportunity for Green Point to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup and for the people of Cape Town to be given the opportunity to see international football stars such as Didier Drogba, Ronaldinho, Cristiano Ronaldo and many others in action.

The City of Cape Town has, of its own accord, taken a decision to play a major role during the 2010 Fifa World Cup tournament and, in arriving at a decision to choose Green Point, the city ensured that proper studies were conducted and engaged the communities in and around the Green Point area. A number of high profile meetings and delegates from across the world have congratulated Cape Town and look forward to their next visit to the city, especially during the World Cup. The announcement of the preferred bidder and the subsequent sod-turning ceremony in Cape Town gave everyone around the world the confidence that Cape Town will be a wonderful host for the event.

Studies conducted by Grant Thornton Kessel Feinstein (GTKF) have demonstrated the economic benefits that will arise from the hosting of the World Cup, ranging from tourism attraction, accommodation and hospitality.

During our planning process for the tournament the 2010 organising committee commissioned the Development Bank of Southern Africa to rank the candidate host cities in terms of the following Fifa requirements: the cost of upgrading match and training venues, accommodation, transportation, safety and security, banking and financial services, medical and emergency services, the number of restaurants, the potential number of volunteers and financial capacity. Using this criteria, Cape Town rated extremely high in all these departments. This evaluation inspired Cape Town to seek an extended period of engagement with the 2010 Fifa World Cup. The longer the city plays a role in the tournament, the more revenue it stands to generate from the event.

The marketing opportunities for World Cup host cities is considerable. The World Cup is the largest sporting event on earth, with the 64 games watched by a cumulative audience of 40 billion people in 207 countries. It's also a massive media spectacle, covered by the world's biggest television networks, radio stations and the world's most influential newspapers and media, who for six weeks will provide invaluable exposure to World Cup host cities.

It's a public relations exercise bar none and is a wonderful opportunity for the country and the host cities to showcase itself and attract more investment and increased tourism revenue post-2010, as evidenced by the impact of the 2000 Sydney Olympics for Australia and the 2006 Fifa World Cup for Germany.

As hosts, Bafana have fortunately already qualified for the 2010 World Cup, but the 31 teams and their hundreds of thousands of fans travelling to the tournament will also bring tourist flows from new markets such as Asia and the Americas.

The acceleration of infrastructure development will also ensure world-class cities for years to come.

The tournament will also undoubtedly impact on skills development among the youth and lead to more job creation opportunities, with the GTKF study estimating that 129,000 jobs will be created as a result of the World Cup.

In addition to the tournament itself, there are a number of other events relating to the World Cup which will be held in host cities, such as the preliminary draw, the opening and closing ceremonies, the International Broadcast Centre, as well as meetings and conferences hosted by Fifa and its commercial partners.

Fifa's commercial partners were hosted in Cape Town last year and all of them were impressed with the level of hospitality and quality of service they received, as well as the keen interest and support from central government, the City of Cape Town and the province of the Western Cape. During the week they spent in Cape Town, they were met by President Thabo Mbeki, Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, cabinet ministers, Premier Ebrahim Rasool and Mayor Helen Zille. This left them with no doubt about Cape Town's commitment to ensuring a successful World Cup.

The local, national and provincial spheres of government have committed themselves to ensuring that the 2010 Fifa World Cup becomes a reality for the people of Cape Town. Our key objectives remain achieving national unity and national reconciliation by providing opportunities for our people, both in the area of job creation and commercial ventures. The rest of the world is watching us and we simply cannot afford to fail. Let us therefore embrace the challenge that lies ahead.

The 2010 Fifa World Cup is already a guaranteed commercial success. Now let us as South Africans and Africans make it the best Fifa World Cup in history.

Dr Danny Jordaan is the chief executive officer of the 2010 Fifa World Cup Organising Committee South Africa
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