MAY 15: SOUTH AFRICA’S UNFORGETTABLE DAY
By: Menelisi Ndwandwe
The 15th of May 2014 marks the 10th anniversary since FIFA President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter announced that South Africa will host the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup.
The announcement was made in Zurich. The South African delegation was led by the now late former statesman, Nelson Mandela, officials from government and the Local Organising Committee (LOC).
“I was very excited when the announcement was made. I first watched the world cup that was in France in 1998. The fact that my country was going to host the world cup brought me a lifetime of joy,” said soccer fanatic Sphiwo Sibiya. South Africa won the bid by four votes, defeating other hopefuls like Morocco.
Thalente Nkosi a postgraduate in Sport Sciences praised the persistence of the LOC. “After they failed in their first attempt, they never lost hope. They had a vision of seeing the first world cup on African soil being hosted in South Africa.
They went on to use ailing Dr Mandela as the face of their campaign. When associations in the Caribbean wanted to see Tata in exchange of votes, LOC flew him over,” Nkosi said.
Herold Rhivombo from Tuks Sport who was at Pretoria Showgrounds when the big announcement was made said that he witnessed true unity.
“I saw all races unite after the announcement. On Saturday mornings, you would find white people who usually go to school to support their kids in different sporting codes. On this day they joined with other races to celebrate that joyful moment,” Rhivombo stated.
After that day, South Africa went on to host one of the most successful world cups in history.
Blatter gave the country the rating of 7.5/10. This proved that it was one of the best tournaments.
All eyes are now on Brazil (South Africa’s successors) who will be hosting the tournament in four weeks’ time. The sounds of a vuvuzela is still resounding in the ears of many South Africans who still cherish this moment.