Fifa CEO Sepp Blatter dismisses pessimists

Fifa CEO Sepp Blatter scoffed at pessimists on Tuesday, as South Africa celebrated its readiness 100 days before the Soccer World Cup spectacle kicked off.  

“Why is a certain community not able to believe in it? They just need to have trust and confidence,” Blatter told the media at the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban.  He described bringing the World Cup to South Africa as a love story. 

“We are proud and happy that this love story is becoming a real wedding party… It’s the patience of Africans to wait and take this opportunity when the decision was made,” he said. 

He said he had no doubt about his decision during the whole duration of the preparation because he believed that Africa deserved to host the World Cup. 

“I’ve never put into question the country’s ability… yes sometimes one needs to put pressure.”  Echoing similar sentiments against Safa, soccer boss Irvin Khoza  said the country was three months ahead of schedule and that he was encouraged by the enthusiasm of Africans. 

He said the ticket sales were proof that people had made up their minds about the World Cup, though there was still a problem with perceptions by some. 

Safa president Kirsten Nematandani said the World Cup was more than action on the field but a legacy that would remain in the country.  All 10 stadiums were more or less complete, with provinces promising to finish all the remaining work before kick-off. 

Foreign and local media hosted by Fifa for on a week-long tour around all stadiums were impressed with the progress that had been made.  The last stop for the tour was Moses Mabhida stadium, where Bafana Bafana will play against Namibia on Wednesday night. 

Meanwhile, the province’s premier Zweli Mkhize said being a host city has made KwaZulu-Natal stronger in terms tourism and agriculture.  “We have benefited from investments which have added to the strength of our nation,” he said.

Source:  Sapa online, 20100303

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