Address by the President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Mr Jacob Zuma at the closing ceremony of the DLF IPL T20
24 May 2009Chairman and Commissioner of the DLF IPL T20, Mr Lalit Modi
CEO of Cricket South Africa, Mr Gerald Majola
President of Cricket South Africa, Mr Mtutuzeli Nyoka,
Chairman and Managing Director of Sahara Computers, Mr Atul Kumar Gupta
Celebrity owners of the T20 teams,
Cricketers and cricket lovers across the world,
Good evening, Sanibonani, Namaste,
Congratulations to the winning team, the Deccan Chargers.
It has been a great pleasure to be part of the excitement of the DLF IPL T20 that has gripped our country over the last five weeks.
A few months ago only a handful of South Africans had heard of the Kolkata Knight Riders, the Deccan Chargers or the Delhi Daredevils.
Today they are household names across the country. In little more than a month the Twenty 20 cricket series has worked its way into the hearts of South Africans and become a firm favourite. We now understand why the series has brought India to a halt whenever a match is on.
On the behalf of the Government and people of South Africa I would like to thank the organizers of the tournament for showing faith in South Africa.
We had to host the tournament at short notice. However, in a little more than three weeks the logistical challenges of preparing eight stadiums at short notice, booking hotel rooms, and laying on extra flights into South Africa were met.
To those who made this possible, both from South Africa and India, my heartfelt congratulations on a job well done. This displays, once again, our country’s ability to host tournaments of this magnitude. The infrastructure, the transport, the accommodation, was in place and the safety of our guests was well secured. Roll on 2010.
In addition the IPL has revitalized our economy with over R1 billion being spent.
Our country has benefitted from the advertising spend, the tourism potential and global exposure that the month-long tournament has brought. We would not be amiss to hosting the tournament again should the need arise.
And many South Africans appreciated the presence of their Bollywood heroes and heroines.
Thank you to Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty among others for making the trip to our country. I’m sure you’ll agree that this is indeed a beautiful country and I’m sure that you will be back.
To the international cricketers who have set the country alight with their magnificent display of cricketing skill, a big thank you.
We are not forgetting the millions of fans both in South Africa, India and across the world who have made this series a success, thank you too.
In three weeks time we host the dress rehearsal to the FIFA 2010 World Cup. The 14th of June marks the start of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.
The Confederations Cup will see some of the world’s best soccer-loving nations converge on South Africa for a two-week feast of football.
Included in the line-up are World Champions Italy, as well as Brazil, Spain and Egypt. The successful hosting of the DLF IPL reaffirms our confidence to host another successful international tournament.
We urge our international guests not to rush back home just yet; there is a lot of fun and excitement coming up in this beautiful country!
Thank you once again to the organizers of this tournament. The heat was definitely on!
I have the unpleasant task of declaring this exciting tournament closed! Well done to everyone!
I thank you!