“I want to congratulate the Springboks for their commitment and dedication. Seeing the nation coming together after the Springboks’ win again reinforced the ability of major sporting events to act as a unifier and a glue that binds the nation,” says Danny Jordaan, the 2010 OC chief executive officer.
“It was wonderful to be at the Stade de France and to walk around with the fans and see South Africans rediscover themselves. And back in South Africa, to see black and white South Africans celebrating on the streets as one. The Springboks fought to bring honour to their country and demonstrated a real sense of patriotism, which was shared by the entire country.”
Jordaan said it was this belief in the power of sport to unify South Africans that drives the Organising Committee to ensure the first African Fifa World Cup is a memorable one that will leave a lasting social and economic legacy for years to come.
“We must take the experience of the Springboks winning the World Cup and the euphoria it brought the country and multiply it over 30 days. Only then will we have a sense of what impact a successful 2010 Fifa World Cup can have on the country. The Springboks’ win and what it’s done for the country inspires us at the OC to work even harder to ensure the tournament’s success in 2010.
“Not only the Organising Committee, but the entire South African nation now has a sense of what can be achieved through hard work and dedication and a building process. For over 10 years now we at the Organising Committee have been building in pursuit of delivering this event. We’ve now had the 2007 Cricket World Cup and the 2007 Rugby World Cup. The next big sporting event is the 2010 Fifa World Cup and we can’t wait for it to begin.”
Jordaan also made special mention of newly-crowned IRB World Player of the Year, Bryan Habana, saying Bafana Bafana could desperately use a player who could make the same dynamic impact on the team.
“Bryan Habana wanted to be an international football striker growing up and was named after Manchester United’s Bryan Robson and Gary Bailey. Bafana Bafana is certainly looking for a striker in the mould of Bryan Habana at the moment.
“The Springboks’ victory was a supreme team effort, but at every major sporting event there is always a key individual performance. At France ’98 there was Zinedine Zidane, at Korea/Japan 2002 there was Ronaldo and at the 2003 Rugby World Cup there was Jonny Wilkinson. 2007 was the year of Bryan Habana as he walked away as the tournament’s top try scorer.
“In 2010 Bafana Bafana’s performance on home soil will be so important. The Springboks have now also given us a sense of the challenges we have in building a successful national football team for 2010,” said Jordaan.
“Now that Bryan Habana has won the Rugby World Cup, perhaps we can convince him to join Bafana to repeat the feat in 2010. We are certainly looking for a striker who has the kind of impact on the team that he does,” joked Jordaan.