The Minister of Sports and Recreation, Mr Fikile Mbalula,
FIFA President, Joseph Blatter
CAF President, Issa Hayatou,
Football leadership in all categories,
Members of the Media,
Good afternoon and a warm welcome to all of you.
Today we are officially closing one of the major highlights and success stories of the year, the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup tournament, on a high note.
We are pleased that the FIFA leadership has returned to the country to launch the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup Legacy Trust.
This occasion enables us to proudly look back on 2010 as the coming of age of our young nation.
Spurred on by the passion of our people, the support of former Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki as well as the hard work of the Local Organising Committee we hosted a memorable World Cup.
As part of the bidding process, government signed 17 guarantees with FIFA, and undertook that these were to be used as a catalyst to meet the developmental needs of the country.
Being a developing country, we wanted the tournament to be about more than just football. We wanted Africa’s first World Cup to be a continental showpiece that was owned by all Africans, and we wanted it to leave a developmental legacy.
We achieved our goals with regards to the successful hosting of the World Cup event. Now remains the difficult but most important task, of ensuring a lasting legacy in both soccer and social development.
The FIFA World Cup Legacy Trust which is being launched today is an important contribution to the achievement of that goal.
A most tangible legacy that must come out of the World Cup is education. The One Goal Education Campaign, which was a rallying cry of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, should not be seen as having been just a once-off promotional campaign which died with the World Cup.
Linking soccer with education takes the beautiful game to the youth and ensures its future.
After all, the game of football is in the main played by the youth and education is in the main about investing in the youth, and therefore to put education as one of the key legacy projects is very important.
Therefore we want to see the campaign continuing until all children of school-going age are sent to school, as part of meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
When that happens, we will know that the legacy of the World Cup is sustainable, as education is a life-long investment that can break the chain of poverty in our country and in Africa.
We want the children of Africa to remember the first Soccer World Cup on African soil as one that planted the seeds of true universal access to education and a better life.
We will have to work on implementing this vision in earnest next year in our country, until we register all children who are out of school.
Our official statistics puts the figure at about 200 000 children, mostly in farming areas of the Western Cape.
The World Cup tournament also underlined the need for us to invest in football development so
that we can build world class football teams. To achieve this, we want to see greater emphasis on the revival of school sports from next year.
We have also committed ourselves to ensuring the provision of sport facilities in poorer communities as part of our rural development focus.
Also important is the creation of further opportunities for the training of sports administrators, referees and coaches so as to improve standards.
These are some aspects of development that should become a tangible legacy of the World Cup
Importantly, the World Cup served as a tool of social cohesion, reaffirming our common South African and African identity.
For our public sector, the tournament exemplified our adage of “Working together, we can do more”.
The government’s own final report is being discussed with affected stakeholders and will point the way forward regarding new approaches we can adopt going forward, as lessons from the World Cup.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We wanted a World Cup that would contribute to social cohesion and national pride; that would enhance African solidarity and improve the country’s global reputation. Our expectations were exceeded.
A new era of Afro-optimism has swept across the continent and the world. Africans have always believed in themselves. Now, the world believes in them too and the World cup contributed a great deal to this change in perceptions.
We thank FIFA President Sepp Blatter and the FIFA family as a whole for the steadfast support against all odds and for contributing enormously to this new Afro-optimism.
As we draw the curtain on this spectacular event finally, we thank all stakeholders for making 2010 a highly successful year for our country.
We now need to keep the tournament alive in the minds of our people through successful development projects, as envisaged in the legacy trust launched today, and in other programmes that will emerge from government.
We wish you all a wonderful festive season after a very hectic year.
I thank you.